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Michael Smith
Drawings and Videos (from storage)
April 13- May 12, 2007

The Christine Burgin Gallery is pleased to announce the openingon April 13 of the exhibition Michael Smith: Drawings and Videos (fromstorage). This exhibition will bring together over thirty years of drawingsby Smith accompanied by related videos as well as selections from theartists various collections.

Michael Smith first became known for the video and performance works he madein New York in the late 1970s starring, Mike, an everyman version of Smithhimself. Like the other artists of this generation, Smith usedappropriation in his work but rather than appropriate the images of theprint media, Smith's source material was television. In his introduction toa conversation between Dan Graham and Mike Smith (Artforum May 2004), TimGriffin reflects on the nature and the impact of this work: "In the earlyvideo It Starts at Home, 1982, the artist adopts all the formal hallmarks ofsituation comedy – the anonymous domestic setting, the instantlyrecognizable (i.e. barely developed) character types who regularly enter andexit the scene, the elementary editing style of hard jump cuts – but leavesthem stranded on-screen as empty conventions since little, if any energy isinvested in plot. Smith's artistic alter ego, "Mike" has cable installed inhis home and, due to a technical snafu, becomes the star of his own realtime public access program – leaving audiences watching the utterly mundanelife of a man who, never venturing from home, is continually confronted withthe image of himself on television. Poker-faced parodies like this evokemultiple contexts, speaking to developments in both mass culture and fineart. On the one hand, they reflect 70s and 80s television's deadpan spoofson the variety shows of yester-year ; and, on the other, they play on thelong-duration performances and reflexive closed-circuit video works made bySmith's contemporaries."

Over the years, Smith has collaborated with a number of artists: DougSkinner for the puppet shows "Doug and Mike's Adult Entertainment," WilliamWegman for the video "World of Photography," 1986 and, for the past severalyears with Joshua White for the large scale installations "Musco,"1997,"Open House," 1999, "QuinQuag," 2001 and "Take Off Your Pants," 2005. Butthrough all of these works, "Mike" has remained a central element, exploringthe territory established by Smith in the 70s. As Jerry Salz wrote in his2001 Village Voice interview of QuinQuag: "A consummate explorer of the landof the loser, Smith has given this realm detail, life, and logic, whilelimning a fine line between reality and satire. Master of a genre that hasbeen called installation verité… Smith is honorary mascot of the infinitelyoddball aesthetic of off. In his conversation with Smith, Dan Grahamfurther explains "Mike": I think Mike is deeply related to this horriblething we have in America — it's both good and bad — called "individualism,"which leaves people very alone. The fact is that most of us are losers, eventhough we pretend to be winners. And America's about winners…"