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The Thomas Cole National Historic Site opens a unique site-specific exhibition by Kiki Smith
Cole’s Bedroom with The Falls I, 2013 pigmented inkjet with hand-coloring on Entrada Natural Rag paper, Edition 5/10, 33 ½ x 35 in. Photo © Peter Aaron/OTTO.

CATSKILL, NY.- Kiki Smith / From the Creek is now open at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. The opening reception was held on Saturday, August 12, and was attended by over 400 guests. The internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Kiki Smith created a new multidisciplinary exhibition inside and outside the historic home where the groundbreaking American artist Thomas Cole lived and worked almost two centuries ago. The solo exhibition, which includes 27 works by Smith, will run through Sunday, October 29, 2017.

For the first time, Smith’s work is presented in direct conversation with that of Thomas Cole, exploring shared fascinations with the natural world. Across time, both artists are responding to the very same landscape around Catskill Creek, which so captivated Cole and inspired America’s first major art movement, the Hudson River School of landscape painting. The Catskill Creek, which flows near the Village of Catskill, was depicted by Cole in at least ten major paintings, more than any other subject. The fact that these two iconic artists walked on the same land and created art that responded to the experience produces a connection spanning 200 years.

The unique, site-specific artist’s installation features 9-foot-tall jacquard tapestries, fabric multiples, prints, and sculptures in bronze, aluminum, and glass. Kiki Smith worked with curator Kate Menconeri to choose and site the artworks both inside the intimate spaces of Cole’s historic home and outside on the grounds.

"Almost all of the works in the exhibition From the Creek were inspired by the natural surroundings of Catskill, New York,” said Kiki Smith. “Since moving there, I have been enthralled by the Mawignack, the low lands where the Catskill and Kaaterskill Creeks converge."

“It is incredible to see Thomas Cole’s house and landscape transformed through the vision and work of Kiki Smith,” said Cole Site Curator Kate Menconeri. “With Smith’s work, we have filled the inside of Cole’s home with, among other things, saplings, crystals and a wild kingdom of animals – deer, bats, birds – many of which can still be spotted roaming the Catskill terrain or inside a Cole painting. It was exciting to discover that Kiki has been making things that draw inspiration from the same places that propelled Cole. Her artworks have me thinking a lot about our interconnection with nature and the regenerative power it holds. Both artists share an interest in cycles, decay, rebirth, and the fragility of the environment.”

“We are thrilled that Kiki Smith created this unique installation at the historic home of Thomas Cole,” said Elizabeth Jacks, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. “Cole’s relevance continues to expand as contemporary artists grapple, as he did, with humanity’s complex relationship to the environment.”

KIKI SMITH / From the Creek is a unique installation created by the artist in conjunction with OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole. It is curated by Kate Menconeri in collaboration with the artist. It will be on view now at the Thomas Cole Site through October 29, 2017. The outdoor installation can be visited between dawn and dusk, free of charge. The indoor installations can be viewed as part of a guided tour of the historic buildings offered Tuesday through Sunday, or during “explore at your own pace” hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2-5 pm.

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.”

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