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Kiki Smith: From the Creek

Coming to Albuquerque Museum October 2022. Kiki Smith’s solo exhibition "From the Creek," on view at Albuquerque Museum features works that take inspiration from the natural world of the Catskills in New York, the same area that inspired nineteenth-century painter, Thomas Cole. The exhibition presents an immersive experience within Smith’s contemplation of the flora and fauna of Catskill Creek and includes sculptures, works on paper, and tapestries.


On view October 8, 2022–February 12, 2023

Kiki Smith Sojourn, 2015 cotton Jacquard tapestry 9' 5" x 6' 3" (287 cm x 190.5 cm) Published by Magnolia Editions Photograph by Tom Barratt, courtesy Pace Gallery © Kiki Smith, courtesy Pace Gallery

Kiki Smith, Sojourn, 2015, cotton Jacquard tapestry, 9' 5" x 6' 3" (287 cm x 190.5 cm), published by Magnolia Editions, Photograph by Tom Barratt, courtesy Pace Gallery © Kiki Smith, courtesy Pace Gallery


The exhibition was organized by the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Additional support is provided by the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts & Culture and the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.


Kiki Smith’s solo exhibition From the Creek, on view at Albuquerque Museum features works that take inspiration from the Catskills in New York. Smith, an artist known for work that explores the human body, the cosmos, myth, and more, has been enthralled for the last twelve years by the Mawignack, the low lands where the Catskill and Kaaterskill Creeks converge.

Kiki Smith: From the Creek explores the wonder of the natural world and includes sculptural works in bronze, aluminum, and silver, works on paper, and 9-foot-tall tapestries. The exhibition presents an immersive space to wander through Smith’s contemplation of the flora and fauna of Catskill Creek. From the Creek is presented simultaneously with three other exhibitions featuring historic and contemporary artists that engage the natural world through diverse depictions of the landscape: Thomas Cole: Memory and Inspiration, Shi Guorui: Ab/Sense-Pre/Sense, and Nicola López and Paula Wilson: Becoming Land.

This special presentation with the artist expands from Smith’s site-specific installation created in the house and studios of the artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848). Across time, both artists, living about a mile and two centuries apart, walked the same land and created work that responds to the Catskills. While having unique approaches and creative practices, both Smith and Cole share a deep connection to place, and a fascination with cycles, decay, rebirth, and the fragility of the environment. While Cole’s paintings of Catskill Creek provide images of sweeping landscapes, Smith’s vision locates the singular and iconic life in this same place. Reflecting on creating landscape imagery, Smith stated “I think more about being in a specific place, rather than being in a landscape. A place reveals itself to you over time… a place can hold so many different perceptions and meanings manifesting very different aspects of a place. “

For this new installation, Kiki Smith worked with curators at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and the Albuquerque Museum. “It is incredible to experience Kiki Smith’s transformative vision,” said Kate Menconeri, chief curator and director of curatorial affairs, contemporary art, and fellowship at the Thomas Cole National Historic site. “The artist’s exhibition sparks an immersive and interconnected natural world, woven together with stars, water, sky, and a kingdom of birds, deer, and pollinators – many of which can still be spotted roaming the Catskill terrain or inside a painting by Thomas Cole. This work is less about a “landscape,” and more about the dynamic ecosystem in which we live. Crossing time and place, Smith’s landscape is spun from relationships among science, poetry, art, and metamorphosis.

The exhibition was inspired by and expands upon Smith’s site-specific exhibition From the Creek, originally presented in OPEN HOUSE: Conversation with Cole, a series of curated contemporary artist installations presented within the historic home and studios of the artist Thomas Cole. Operating from the concept that all art is contemporary, the program activates conversations between artists across the centuries and is collaborative by nature. Exhibitions and artworks have ranged from those that literally reference Cole’s iconic works to those that expand on issues and themes relevant to Cole, including art, landscape, history, and balancing the built and natural worlds. OPEN HOUSE projects shed light on the connections between nineteenth century American art and our contemporary moment.



Visit the artist's website

Kiki Smith was born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany, and lives and works in Catskill and New York City. The artist is internationally celebrated and has a career that spans more than three decades. Smith is known for works that explore the human body, time, the cosmos, myth, and the interconnections between nature and human nature. Since 1982, her work has been exhibited in more than 150 exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, including significant group exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, NYC (1991, 1993, 2002), La Biennale di Firenze, Florence, Italy (1996-1998), and La Biennale di Venezia (1993, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2017), as well as solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, The Kitchen, Carnegie Museum of Art, Barbara Krakow Gallery, MIT List Visual Arts Center, San Francisco- Museum of Modern Art, Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Walker Art Center, Henry Art Gallery, Williams College Museum of Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, and PACE Gallery, which has represented her work since 1985. Smith has also created installations in the historic Palazzo Querini Stampalia in Venice, and in spiritual spaces in New York, including St. John’s and the Eldridge Street Synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East side where she created a 16-foot glass window. Accolades include the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts; Women in the Arts Award, Brooklyn Museum; and the 50th Edward MacDowell Medal. Smith was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York in 2005. In 2006 TIME Magazine named her one of the “TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World.”


The Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Visit The Thomas Cole National Historic Site website

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is an international destination presenting the original home and studios of the artist and early environmentalist Thomas Cole (1801-1848). Cole founded the first major art movement in the United States, now known as the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Located on 6 acres in the Hudson Valley, the site includes the 1815 Main House; Cole’s 1839 Old Studio; the reconstructed 1846 New Studio building; and panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains. It is a National Historic Landmark and an affiliated area of the National Park System. The Thomas Cole Site’s activities include guided and self-guided tours, special exhibitions of both 19th-century and contemporary art, print publications, lectures, extensive online programs, school programs, the Cole Fellowship, free community events, and innovative public programs such as the Hudson River School Art Trail—a map and website that enable people to visit the places in nature that Cole painted—and the Hudson River Skywalk, a new scenic walkway connecting the Thomas Cole Site with Frederic Church’s Olana over the Hudson River. The goal of all programs at the Thomas Cole Site is to enable visitors to find meaning and inspiration in Thomas Cole’s life and work. The themes that Cole explored in his art and writings—such as landscape preservation and our conception of nature as a restorative power—are both historic and timely, providing the opportunity to connect to audiences with insights that are highly relevant to their own lives.