In conjunction with the exhibition Jack Smith: Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis on view through September 9, Artists Space and Metrograph present a six-program retrospective of Jack Smith’s visionary films, including Flaming Creatures (1962-63), Normal Love (1963-64), and I Was a Male Yvonne De Carlo (1960s-70s). The series will also feature rare and previously unseen documentation of Smith’s live performances, as well as his work as an actor in the films of Ken Jacobs and Ron Rice. All screenings will take place at Metrograph.
Jack Smith’s (1932–1989) 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 cleancut narrativization. In history, as in life, Smith’s oeuvre exists in renegade defiance of the capitalist imperatives of commodification and containment, as vilified in his philosophical fabulations of “lucky landlordism,” “rented island,” “art crust,” and “black light of false lighthouse capitalism.” Smith’s vision is one that consequently imbues art into life and has fundamentally articulated avant-garde film, performance, and critical discourse in New York from the 1960s to the present.