Michael Smith

Michael Smith (1951, lives and works in New York) is a video and performance artist who invokes the routines of popular comedy to articulate the banality and hype of mass consumer culture, and the isolation of those whose inner lives are defined by it. In a series of videotapes, performances and installations, which he has produced since the late 1970s, Smith chronicles the trivial dreams and adventures of his eponymous alter-ego, the bland, deadpan “Mike,” a postmodern Everyman who believes everything and understands nothing in his media-saturated world.

The tragicomic tales of this underdog hero are performed by Smith within the parodic context of pop cultural formats: sitcoms, music videos, TV ads, variety and game shows. Smith’s cunning lies in turning the media back on itself, in connecting the worlds of art and pop, culture and kitsch, an ironic approach that prompted J. Hoberman of The Village Voice to call him “a lower Manhattan cross between Rodney Dangerfield and Joseph K.”

At Ellen de Bruijne Projects Michael Smith will show his video do it (or How to Curate your Own Group Exhibition), produced by the Museum in Progress. Also on view the slide show The Second Annual Finals of the U.S.A. Freestyle Disco Championship. And his latest video work Famous Quotes From Art History, produced by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. In this short video, Smith parodies the sort of cultural and educational programming interlude that one might see on European or American public television. Famous Quotes From Art History presents the bon mots of Henri Matisse as drolly recited, in French, by Smith, who then executes Matisse’s suggestions with hilarious literalism.

Exhibition: 06/03/04 – 10/04/04

Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS
Rozengracht 207A
1016 LZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands