Milan / May 19 —June 26, 2010
Galleria Massimo De Carlo is proud to present the first Italian solo exhibition of Josh Smith’s works. Through collages, paintings, and installations created in 2010, the Tennessee-born and New York-based artist continues his research on genuineness, the role of the artist, the meaning of the work of art, and the possibility to serialize it.
Josh Smith exhibits a selection of his new works, grouping them together according to a well-defined plan that represents the artist’s stylistic path over the last 10 years. It starts with the so-called “name paintings”, in which the common name Josh Smith is obsessively repeated; and it continues with the “collages”, in which posters, newspaper cuttings, maps, and pictures blur with pictorial interventions, and his “palette paintings”. Smith’s works stand out because of their serial quality and the superabundance of his limitless creative stream of consciousness. Even some stools – that can be used by visitors as privileged points of view – or the small encyclopedia on display in the following room (maybe a reference to “38th Street Publishers”, the publishing house Smith set up in New York in 2008 with the simple aim of making high-quality art books available to everyone) are coated in his distinctive dark, dense paint.
The distinguishing mark of Josh Smith’s works is precisely this freedom of expression. If a painter “thinks through paintings”, like Paul Cezanne said, it is obvious that a profusion of works will be created, and this overproduction clearly contrasts with the general trend to consider a work’s quality as directly related to its rarity. Josh Smith sets himself free from the logic leading to a distinction between major and minor works and from the system of values used to judge art, and he offers an alternative that places the focus on a work’s creative process as part of an artist’s production, rather than on its “uniqueness”.
Josh Smith was born in Tennessee in 1976. He currently lives and works in New York. Among his most recent solo exhibitions, the ones at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (2009) and at the MUMOK in Vienna (2008). He took part in the collective exhibitions Fax at the Drawing Center in New York (2009), Learn to Read Art: A History of Printed Matter at the P.S.1 in New York (2009), The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at the New Museum in New York (2009), Book/Shelf at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2008), and Meet Me Around the Corner – works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2008). The show Josh Smith & Sophie von Hellerman, already held at Le Consortium in Dijon in 2009, is still ongoing and now exhibited at the Dhondt-Dhaenens Museum in Bruxelles.