Constellation

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Object Name: 
Installation
Title: 
Constellation
Accession Number: 
2013.4.38
Dimensions: 
Variable
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
1996
Credit Line: 
Gift in part of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York
Web Description: 
The internationally recognized sculptor and printmaker Kiki Smith frequently uses glass, in addition to many other materials, to explore ideas about the body, landscape and nature. In the Museum’s acquisition, made in 1996, the artist has brought the heavens to earth in a room-sized installation titled Constellation. The work is comprised of hot-sculpted glass animals of different sizes designed by Smith and produced by the Venetian maestro Pino Signoretto, cast glass stars, and hundreds of pieces of cast bronze animal scat. These elements are arranged into an imaginary night sky on a large circular field of handmade indigo-dyed Nepal paper.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Pace Gallery LLC, Source
2013-07-08
Smith, Kiki ((American, b. Germany, 1954)), Source
1996
to
2013-07-08
Inscription: 
Pino Signoretto
signature
Engraved on all glass pieces except for (-6 b) Branch, (-14) Antelope, and (-24) Small Snake
Primary Description: 
Installation, "Constellation". Colorless Schott lead glass, bronze, handmade indigo-dyed Nepal paper; hot-sculpted and cast glass, cast bronze, assembled. Installation consists of a circular field of leaves of indigo-dyed paper arranged on the floor. 29 hot-sculpted glass animals are placed on the paper, like constellations in the night sky, along with 67 lost-wax cast glass stars, and 626 pieces of bronze "scat." The hot-sculpted glass animals are as follows: (-1ab) Cygnus the Swan with metal mount, (-2) Pisces, the Fish (fluke), (-3) Musca Borealis, the Fly of the North, (-4) Canis Major, the Great Dog, (-5) Canis Minor, the Little Dog, (-6ab) Columbra Noachi, Noah's Dove and olive branch that sits beside it, (-7) Equuleus, The Horse, (-8) Lynx, (-9) Scorpius, the Scorpion, (-10) Columbra Noachi, Noah's Dove, (-11) Lepus the Hare, (-12) Leo Major, the Great Lion, (-13) Ursa Major, the Great Bear, (-14) Capricornus, the Goat Fish, (-15) Lacerta, the Lizard, (-16) Lupus, the Wolf, (-17ab) Corvus, the Crow, with metal mount, (-18) Cancer, the Crab, (-19) Aries, the Ram, (-20) Leo Minor, the Little Lion, (-21) Pisces, the Fish (trout), (-22) Pisces, the Fish (flounder), (-23) Cetus, the Whale or Sea Monster, (-24) Serpens, the Serpent, (-25ab) Taurus, the Bull, with metal mount, (-26) Delphinus, the Dolphin, (-27) Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, (-28ab) Aquila, the Eagle, with metal mount, (-29) Hydra, the Water Serpent.
Space-Time
Venue(s)
National Glass Centre
Space-Time continues the NGC’s policy of showcasing work by a range of artists – not just those working in glass – who cross both national and artistic boundaries. Consequently this show sees glass by Kiki Smith exhibited alongside Steven Pippin’s photograph 2B Space & Time Drawing (which depicts a UFO he saw in the 1980s) and Tehching Hsieh’s short film One Year Performance. What all the exhibitors have in common though, is an interest in astronomy, the role of time and a fascination with space – for example Liliane Lijn did a residency at the Space Sciences Laboratory in Berkeley, California and her resulting piece Heavenly Fragments is made out of Aerogel, a substances more usually used by NASA to capture star dust. Glass artists in the show include Dominick Labino, who has made a watery blue glass pyramid. Untitled # 420, refers to the pyramids and their role in forecasting the solar astronomical year. Kiki Smith, meanwhile has made Constellation, a glass installation in the form of a giant zodiac with the astronomical animals scattered across a giant midnight blue circle. Look out also for Hieki Brachlow and Vaclav Cigler, who both experiment with the optical effects of glass and light refraction.
Kiki Smith: Constellation
Venue(s)
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kiki Smith’s Constellation is a meditation on the infinity of space and our human desire to know and tame it – to make it our own. In this room-sized installation, the artist brings the vast dome of heaven down to earth, where cast glass animals and stars sparkle and glow at our feet. Arranged upon a plane of night-blue Nepal paper, these miniature symbols of distant constellations awaken wonder and remind us of the mystery that compelled ancient astronomers to chart and name them. The interrelatedness of nature and its parts is a pervasive theme in Kiki Smith’s work. She explores the human and animal, the celestial and earthly, the macrocosm and microcosm. Like the poet, mystic, or natural philosopher, she approaches our universe with reverence. Like the contemporary scientist, she is driven by a desire to understand.
 
Unnatural Science
Venue(s)
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
The art in Unnatural Science exploits scientific narratives, practices and aesthetics. Humorous and irreverent, though scientifically well-informed, these recent installations, sculptures, video works, and photographs owe much to the playful art of Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Jarry and Raymond Roussel in their use of science as a springboard for fantasy. The explorations of botany, genetics, chemistry, physics and other sciences are both poetic and profound, beautiful and visionary. Drawn from the collections of artists, galleries and museums all over the world, the works in Unnatural Science hailed a significant trend in contemporary art - one that not only demystifies, but also poeticizes science.
Kiki Smith
Venue(s)
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Forefront Gallery
 
Kiki Smith: Convergence
Venue(s)
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Convergence was the first major solo exhibition in Ireland of the work of Kiki Smith, one of America's leading contemporary sculptors. Ranging over ten years of her work from 1988, it reflected her main concerns in subject matter, colour and materials, and includes a number of characteristic sculptures based on the human body. Drawings and mixed-media works from 1996 and '97 marking a shift in focus from human to animal forms and the natural world were also shown.
Kiki Smith: Reconstructing the Moon
Venue(s)
Pace Gallery LLC
 
Paradise Cage: Kiki Smith and Coop Himmmelb(I)au
Venue(s)
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Paradise Cage project derives its name from the miniature medieval devotional pictures of gardens of paradise, which are usually surrounded by a wall. For the cooperation between Wolf D. Prix and the artist Kiki Smith for an exhibition designed by Frank O. Gehry at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the experiment was undertaken to produce an “osmotic wall” between interior and exterior. The sculpture by Kiki Smith, though placed on the inside of the cage, breaks through its boundaries. A wall of cables, at once visible and invisible, is created, through which observers can see but not pass. The double-cone-shaped construction made from taut wire cable was directly related in form and positioning to the exhibition space designed by Frank O. Gehry, with its polyhedral ceiling and pyramid-like overhead light. The work by Kiki Smith, located on the floor directly under the window, could be observed from a heightened position via a wooden ramp that was part of Paradise Cage.
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 35) (2014) illustrated, p. 126, left;
Recent Acquisitions (2013) illustrated, p. 14; BIB# AI95664
Kiki Smith: Constellation, June 9-October 28, 2007 (2007) illustrated, cover, pp. 1-2, 4; BIB# 110266
Kiki Smith (2005) illustrated, pp. 164-165; BIB# 90442
Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005 (2005) illustrated, p. 71, fig. 28, installation view; BIB# 95972
Kiki Smith (2005) illustrated, pp. 164-165, installation views; BIB# 90442
Unnatural Science (2000) illustrated, pp. 50, 52-53, 96-97;
Kiki Smith: all creatures great and small (1999) illustrated, p. 26, detail; BIB# 64185
Kiki Smith (1998) illustrated, pp. 164-165; BIB# 68383
Kiki Smith: Convergence (1997) illustrated, no. 23, detail; BIB# 136686
Seeking Paradise in 'Cage (1996-11-28)
Paradise Cage: Kiki Smith and Coop Himmelb(l)au (1996) illustrated, p. iv, vi, 25-30; BIB# 105076