Contemporary artist Allison Smith's diverse creative practice critically engages with popular forms of historical reenactment through a variety of media, including sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and photography. Focusing on the handmade and performative aspects of history and material culture, Smith re-stages, refigures, and replays the role of traditional crafts in large-scale installations that reconsider the construction of collective memory and identity. For the core of Allison Smith: Needle Work, the artist created contemporary revisions of European and American gas masks from World War I and World War II. Smith used art supplies found at local fabric and craft retail stores to explore a range of masklike forms - from the ghoulish to the foolish - thereby questioning essential notions of camouflage and masquerade. This exhibition catalog, illustrated throughout in color, includes an essay that considers Smith's project in light of Peter Sloterdijk's "Terror from the Air", as well as in-depth interviews with the artist and the curator.
Allison Smith is assistant professor of sculpture at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her work has appeared at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Arario Gallery in Cheonan, South Korea, and the P.S.1 MoMA Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York.