Mickey Smith (artist)

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Mickey Smith
Born 1972
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Minnesota State University
Known for Conceptual art, photography
Notable work Believe You Me
You People

Mickey Smith (born 1972 in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.) is an American photographer and conceptual artist working in Auckland, New Zealand. Her works have exhibited throughout the United States, in Europe, China, and Russia. Mickey has received a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photography as well as grants from Forecast Public Art, CEC ArtsLink, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is represented by Invisible-Exports gallery in New York.



In her series, Volume (2006-2010), Smith photographed library-stack sets of bound periodicals to memorialize them as shared objects of a common literary culture, now passed. Volume documented bound periodicals and journals in public libraries. The books and words are not touched, artificially lit, or manipulated – rather created by the librarian, found in the stacks, and positioned by the last anonymous reader. The focus was on simple, provocative titles that transcend the spines on which they appear to create conceptual, language-based, anthropological works. Smith's large scale installations, Collocations, were an evolution of the Volume series.

Believe You Me[edit]

In Believe You Me (2010), she examined the manner in which books and book-learning continue to deliver status even in a culture that has turned away from reading—indeed even more powerfully, and more pervasively, than in eras that had not yet given up on the book as a storehouse of knowledge. In these contemporary images, books have become vacant props, drafted into private battles and culture wars out of a desperate nostalgia for the fading power of the written word.


In her new series, Denudation (2012), Mickey Smith presents a mesmerizing kind of in-situ laboratory-style photography—the image as evidentiary document, the print as cold case. The stark, dark photographs in this new exhibition test the limits of objectivity and the false consolation of casualness even as, in the tradition of documentary and crime-scene photography, the images aspire to conscientious neutrality. The photographs document those objects discarded within an abandoned library, but their formal objectivity is no guard against the ghosts of narrative, perceived or imagined.


Public Art Year in Review Project Winner, 2010[1]
LMCC Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grantee, 2009
Permanent Commission Recipient, University of Florida, 2009
CEC Artslink Grantee, 2008[2]
Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers [Nominee], 2008
Fulbright Research Fellowship [Finalist + Alternate], 2008
FORECAST Public Artworks Public Art Affairs Grantee, 2007
Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward [Honorable Mention], 2007
McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship for Photography, 2006[3]


Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY
Dorsey & Whitney, Minneapolis, MN
Fidelity Corporate Art Collection, Boston, MA
Fredrickson & Byron, Minneapolis, MN
Miami Dade Public Library, Miami, FL
Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, MN
Northland Collection, Saint Paul, MN
North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN


Denudation. Hassla Books. September 2012
GQ. The Book that Changed My… June 2011
Abe’s Penny. Collaboration with Lamb, John. January 2011
The Last Magazine. October 2010
THEME Magazine [Issue #23]. Dalton, Trinie. Schiller, Sara + Marc [Curators]. July 2010
New York Times. Reader’s Delight. New York Times. Smith, Roberta. July 2010
Abe’s Penny NADA Special Edition. Brehm, Hannah. December 2009
ESOPUS [Issue #13]. Artist Project. October 2009
PRC Annual Juried Publication. September 2009
Habertarts.com Text Messaging. Habler, John. April 2009
Dallas Morning News. There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you... Granberry, Michael. March 2009
Time Out St. Petersburg. Volume: Mickey Smith Project. Turkina, Olesia. December 2008
Modern Art Obsession. Mickey Smith Photography at the New Invisible-Exports Gallery. Hoeh, Mike. November 2008
New York Magazine. Photographer Mickey Smith Goes to the Library. Pearse, Emma. November 2008
PDNedu [Vol. 7 Issue #1]. One To Watch. Gordon, Jessica. March 2008
American Photography 23. Selected Photographer. November 2007
MyArtSpace.com. Interview. Sherwin, Brian. October 2007
Magenta Foundation for the Arts. Flash Forward 2007. October 2007
mnartists.org. The Medium Itself. Riddle, Mason. September 2007
Flak Photo. Weekend Series. September 2007
Review Magazine. Project-in-Print. August 2007
Flak Photo. Featured Artist. February 2007
Photography Quarterly [Issue #95]. Cover Image. September 2006
mnartists.org. Money, Money, Money. O’Sullivan, Thomas. August 2005


  1. ^ "2010 Public Art Year in Review Announced | Americans for the Arts". www.artsusa.org. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Past Projects in Russia | CEC ArtsLink". www.cecartslink.org. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  3. ^ "Arts | McKnightFoundation". www.mcknight.org. Retrieved 2015-05-06.