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Mickey Smith

March 19 – April 30, 2024

Mickey Smith , TODAY & TOMORROW, 2007
Mickey Smith , OCEANIA, 2020
Mickey Smith , MODERN DRAMA, 2024
Mickey Smith , METROPOLIS, 2008 
Mickey Smith , FORM, 2022 
Mickey Smith , MONUMENT, 2022
Mickey Smith, VOLUME, 2022
Mickey Smith , VOGUE, 2004
Mickey Smith , THE FARMER, 2004
Mickey Smith, AMERICAN GIRL, 2008
Mickey Smith , POWER, 2005
Mickey Smith , COFFEE, 2016
Mickey Smith, GREY ROOM, 2022
Mickey Smith , ENDEAVOUR, 2007
Mickey Smith , SPECTATOR, 2004
Mickey Smith, NEW YORKER, 2024
Mickey Smith, BLOOD, 2006 
Mickey Smith , PROBE, 2006
Mickey Smith , MONEY, 2004 
Mickey Smith, BUILDING, 2022
Mickey Smith, MS., 2024
Mickey Smith , ROLLING STONE, 2024
Mickey Smith , THE FAMOUS FIVE, 2023
Mickey Smith, HOME FUN, 2023
Mickey Smith , MODERN CULINARY ART, 2023
Mickey Smith , THE SLEEPING PRINCESS, 2023
Mickey Smith , GIRL'S OWN, 2023
Mickey Smith, BOY'S OWN, 2023
Mickey Smith, WOMAN AT HOME, 2023

Press Release

Danziger Gallery is pleased to announce representation of American artist Mickey Smith. For over 20 years, Smith’s work has been focused on making unmanipulated photographs of bound volumes of periodicals found in libraries throughout the United States and in New Zealand, where she has lived since 2012. These large scale color still lifes – part sculptural, part text based – vividly bring to life the stored volumes with power, humor, or surprise. Smith’s nuanced responses to what she discovers, alongside the consistent quality of the works create a fresh take on the conceptual still life.

The gallery’s first presentation of her work will be at the AIPAD photography fair this April, but we are pleased to now share a range of works on our website. As Smith is an eloquent speaker about her own work, here she is introducing her work to an Auckland audience last year:

“I’m a documentary photographer, a conceptual artist, and I’ve been recently labeled a cultural anthropologist. I work in public and academic libraries, photographing books as I find them on the shelves. I do not touch. I do not manipulate. I do not light. I do not move, and I certainly do not open or read these volumes…  It would out of the question as I’ve been doing this work for over twenty years. I try to move on, but the books keep calling me back. Urgently. 

Writer Lewis Menand wrote of my work, “One important thing about the images is their found-ness. The photographs are taken from life; they’re not made from props in a studio. The artist was on library safari.” Many of the creatures I photograph have become extinct. Deaccessioned, digitized. I feel an urgent need to memorialize these cultural monuments as they disappear from our landscape.

At a medical library in Minnesota I discovered BLOOD bound in red, PROBE bound in pink, BURNS bound in fiery shades of orange. I was shocked, years later, to spot BLOOD bound in blue at The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Of course. These decisions, conscious and unconscious, are not made by me, but by librarians and bindery clerks.

Some of my subjects are more rare than others. Popular magazines like VOGUE and TIME can be found bound in many collections, but only in an engineering library have I found POWER. Rows upon rows of the journal bound, until one day, the bindery clerk decided to change the font from white to black, giving me the opportunity to reframe the meaning of the word itself. 

Bits of words, letters, color associations come into play, creating a new morphology of the library. These discoveries, these serendipities - these are my decisive moments.”