Ken Smith

1951

Artist biography

Ken Smith is seen as an established contemporary artist. Ken Smith was born in 1951. Also born in 1951 and of this same generation are Wanda Koop, Sara Mcintyre, Lorenzo Bergen, Frank Hyder, and Lou Jianming.

Further Biographical Context for Ken Smith

Ken Smith was born in 1951 and was predominantly inspired by the 1970s. The art sphere of the 1970s was epitomized by a longing to evolve and strengthen itself, as a reaction to the many tensions of the previous decade. One of the most important movement of the 1970s was Conceptualism, which appeared as an offshoot of Minimalism, while the experimental, creative journey of Process art emerged by combining essential elements of Conceptualism with further considerations on art itself. The earliest ideas of environmentalism sprung from Land Art, which took art into earth itself, carving the land and bringing art to the outdoors. For the first time since the regression of Abstract Expressionism, Expressive figure painting slowly re-emerged and regained its status, especially in Germany through the works of critically acclaimed figures Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. Most of the dominant artistic figures of the 1960s remained highly influential and admired throughout the 1970s. Andy Warhol, for instance, fortified his status as a legendary artist, by bifurcating into film and magazine publishing, thus introducing a ground-breaking concept of cross-cultural activity for a visual artist of such popularity The city of New York remained as the most prominent artistic hub of the decade, with international artists drifting through the downtown scene, frequenting bars and art galleries, consolidating the idea of New York City as a cosmopolitan and refined cultural capital. Artists such as Jannis Kounnelis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto attained international success, as they were widely accepted as renowned members of the Italian movement Arte Povera, critically acclaimed in the 1970s. A few significant international movements that sharpened the decade include photorealism, which was initially introduced in the 1960s and reached commercial and critical success in the 1970s, as well as feminism which deeply influenced the visual culture. In the eastern part of the globe, Japanese and Korean artists who showed a strong interest in the European ideas of phenomenology, allied with the Mono-Ha movement, exploring and shifting the boundaries between natural and industrial materials. Using stone, glass, cotton, sponge, wood, oil and water, they aimed to give life to artworks that would accentuate the ephemeral state of these various elements and their surroundings, playing with their interdependency. Reaching the end of the 1970s, street art, evolving from graffiti, was starting to truly captivate the fine art community. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat helped legitimize spray painting and tagging, demonstrating that their artworks could subsist at the same time in art galleries and in urban settings. Following, the global extent of street art would become extremely significant, representing an extraordinary form of artistic expression.

Ken Smith