Allison Smith's diverse practice investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment and the role of craft in the construction of national identity. She produces performative sculptures and public events that provoke new forms of popular militancy by encouraging participants to "take history into their own hands."
Drawn to CCA for its rich history of craft practices as well as its groundbreaking social practices program, Smith joined the Sculpture and Graduate Fine Arts faculty in fall 2008. Prior to that she taught at Columbia University, Parsons School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, and New York University.
Smith received a BA in psychology from the New School for Social Research, a BFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art. In addition, she participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.
Smith has produced solo exhibitions and projects for numerous institutions including Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, and Indianapolis Museum of Art. She has also contributed her work to major museum surveys at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Andy Warhol Museum, P.S.1 MoMA, Palais de Tokyo, The Mattress Factory, and others.
Smith has received generous support from United States Artists, Public Art Fund, Arts Council England, Creative Work Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Artadia, and New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as prestigious award residencies at Artpace San Antonio, Washington University, and Headlands Center for the Arts.
Museum acquisitions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Saatchi Gallery London, and many others. Her monograph Allison Smith: The Muster was released in 2007 and is being distributed by Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.). She is the author of Allison Smith: Needle Work (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
She currently runs the project SMITHS out of her storefront studio in Oakland, where she lives with her partner, writer/curator Christina Linden.