Hauser Wirth & Schimmel: The Making of Revolution in the Making

by Amy Marie Slocum

We speak to artist Shinique Smith about her preparation for the Los Angeles Art Center's inaugural exhibition.
Last month, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opened in a 100,000 square foot former flour mill in DTLA. The inaugural exhibition, organized in tandem by partner Paul Schimmel and curator Jenny Sorkin features solely studio-based female abstract sculptors. One of those selected for the show is the NY-based artist Shinique Smith who works primarily in cast-off clothing from her friends and family.

Flaunt spoke to Smith about her practice, being included in this historic exhibition, and philosophy.

On scavenging clothes/patterns for her art

I think people get confused where that trend comes from. It’s been around a long time. My mom designed clothes, so we’d have those fabrics around and I’d always be around that.

On the life cycle of a piece of clothing

I’m interested from the origins of a piece of clothing to burial, absolutely.

Did Tibetan Buddhism influence you?

I was raised with a Polygnostic view and philosophy of the world. It influences my life and therefore influences the work.

There’re now a few exhibitions that are all-women themed. Do you see this as a new thing in the art world, has it changed since you’ve been working?

I’ve found that white men are at the forefront of everything, so, I hope the whole world is changing, with inclusion and opportunities, and art, and people of color.

Regarding secrets: do you have any secrets, why do you keep them?

Some things are secrets, and would be shared only with so many people because they lose more energy. In terms of making work, I couldn’t talk to everyone about [my work]. Sometimes I think I hold back on explaining the work because I don’t want to take away the mystery.

How has social media changed contemporary art, if you think that it has?

The main worry is that we think we’re really involved in something because we’re posting it in your feed.

What does revolution mean to you?

Forcing enlightenment, and forcing others to wake up.

How do you force others to wake up?

I guess by example. Sharing and asking.