Smith speaking at the Brooklyn Museum, 2014
New York City, New York, United States
Born in New York City and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Smith studied at Grinnell College in Iowa. Her career in the arts started in 1968 while an undergraduate summer intern at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. In 1968-69 she participated in the Art History/Museum Studies track of the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP) where she met Donald Judd and became interested in minimal art.
After graduation, she returned to New York City in 1971 to take a secretarial job at the Museum of Modern Art, followed by part-time assistant jobs to Judd and Paula Cooper in 1972. While at the Paula Cooper Gallery she wrote exhibition reviews for Artforum, and subsequently for Art in America, the Village Voice and other publications as well. She began writing for The New York Times in 1986, and became the co-chief art critic in 2011.
Smith has written numerous essays for catalogues and monographs on contemporary artists, and wrote the featured essay in the Judd catalogue raisonné published by the National Gallery of Canada in 1975. She writes not only about contemporary art but about the visual arts in general, including decorative arts, popular and outsider art, design and architecture.
- 2003 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, College Art Association.
- 2009 AICA/USA Distinguished Critic Lecture.
- 2014 Marina Kellen French Distinguished Visitor, The American Academy in Berlin.
- "Roberta Smith". The New York Times. 2018-03-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- Christopher Bolen, "Roberta Smith & Jerry Saltz", Interview magazine, undated.
- "Roberta Smith and Holland Cotter Named Co-Chief Art Critics of The New York Times". Observer. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- Art., Whitney Museum of American (2008). Independent study program : 40 years : Whitney Museum of American Art, 1968-2008 (1st ed.). New York: Whitney Museum of American Art. ISBN 9780874271584. OCLC 262737522.
- Pilat, Kasia (2018-02-28). "From 'Vicious' to Celebratory: The Times's Reviews of Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- "Jerry Saltz and the Future of the Critic-Artist | artnet News". artnet News. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- "Awards". The College Art Association. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics | Roberta Smith Criticism A Life Sentence". www.veralistcenter.org. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- "Roberta Smith - American Academy". American Academy. Retrieved 2018-03-18.