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Michael Smith is an American artist known for his performance, video, and installation works. He emerged in the mid-1970s, as performance and narrative-based works were beginning to claim space in contemporary art. Included among the Pictures Generation artists, he appropriated pop culture, using television conventions rather than tropes from static media. Since 1979 much of Smith's work has centered on his everyman character "Mike," who he has portrayed in various domestic, entrepreneurial and artistic endeavors. Writers have described his videos and immersive installations as "poker-faced parodies" that sit on the edge between art and entertainment. In these pieces, he examines ideas, cultural shifts, and absurdities involving the American dream, consumerism, the art world, and aging. 

Smith's early performances took place at avant-garde venues in New York City, i.e. The Kitchen, Franklin Furnace, and Artists Space, as well as at downtown clubs such as CBGB and the Mudd Club. He eventually performed in other, more mainstream clubs and institutions, such as The Bottom Line, Carolines, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. He produced videos for Saturday Night Live and PBS and a comedy special for Cinemax. In more recent years, he has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Tate Modern, among others. Smith has received many fellowships and honors from notable organizaitons, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

Read more about Michael Smith on Wikipedia.

Image: General Idea, 1981