Biography

Allison Smith.

b. 1972 Manassas, Virginia.

Allison Smith, an artist with a keen interest in public art projects, was born in Manassas, Virginia in 1972. She has a BA in psychology from the New School for Social Research, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. Smith is also a graduate of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. The artist says of her work, "I am interested in historical reenactments; I have been interested recently about notions of making as reenactment and studio practice as historical reenactment." A 2005 project, The Muster mined the visual iconography of the American Civil War to not merely reenact historical events, but to use the artforms of performance and installation to comment on various contemporary issues and causes. Her "declaration" to the participants was, "The Musteris a polyphonic marshaling of voices; a gathering of the troops in artistic, intellectual, activist, and queer communities, generated by the fundamental question: "What are you fighting for?" Smith used the war muster format--a gathering of troops-- to create a forum for examination and discourse by the individual participants. "I'm interested in looking at art through the lens of civil conflicts and looking at the performance and props of reenactment through the lens of art." In addition to performance art, Smith creates life-size porcelain dolls, pens calligraphy of Civil War-era songs, and carves non functioning weapons. She states that she is striving "for a recognition of the social histories around craft, and for the politicization of craft." She goes on to say, "The idea of the performativity of identity is important to my work. (It embodies) a representation of a gender and sexual spectrum"”and a racial one, too, given my identity as gay, as white, and as coming from a very historically influenced upbringing in Manassas, Virginia." Allison Smith lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.