Jack Smith “Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis”

Artists Space

poster for Jack Smith “Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis”

This event has ended.

This exhibition is dedicated to our co-founder and friend Irving Sandler. His unwavering commitment to art and artists is a legacy that will continue to guide our work.

Artists Space presents an exhibition of theatrical and live performance works by Jack Smith, the first extensive institutional retrospective in New York of his groundbreaking art in over twenty years.

With his shadow looming over the development of avant-garde film, performance art, photography, and critical discourse in New York between the 1960s and 1980s, and through the formative years of Artists Space, Jack Smith nonetheless remains an outlier among the many artistic contexts within which he has played an important role. His virtuosic output is revered for its caustic humor, self-invention, and debasement of institutional authority, which intensified throughout his ever-evolving work. Yet, since his death from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1989, his artistic legacy has proven to be similarly incalcitrant and resistant to clean-cut narrativization. In history, as in life, Smith’s comprehensive ouevre exists in renegade defiance of the capitalist imperatives of commodification and containment, as vilified in his ideas of “lucky landlordism,” “rented island,” “claptailism,” “art crust,” and so forth.

Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis marks the first time that many of Smith’s performances—composed and chronicled in drawings, scripts, film fragments, “boiled lobster color slideshows,” audio recordings, and costumes—have been articulated. Particularly, it will frame Smith’s time “in exile,” as described by film historian and Smith archivist J. Hoberman. This period was marked by the artist’s eviction from his legendary SoHo loft The Plaster Foundation of Atlantis in 1971 and, consequently, by a movement towards performances staged in ad-hoc theater spaces, clubs, and notably in the literal outside of a morphing urban environment, as the artist found himself at the margins of a professionalizing art world, with the city of New York transformed by a bullish real estate market.

The final exhibition to take place at Artists Space’s current location at 55 Walker Street, Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis will occupy two floors and provide access to some of Smith’s most startling yet unknown performances, as well as extensive documentation and materials from The Plaster Foundation of Atlantis.



from June 22, 2018 to September 16, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-06-21 from 18:00 to 20:00


Jack Smith

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