Art of the day: SPITBALL by Tony Smith

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Sat, 06/24/2006 - 01:34.

 

Architect, painter, sculptor -- Tony Smith was all three. Sometimes his sculptures are grouped with Minimalism, though they don't really belong in that stylistic catagory. As the title suggests, there is some humor to this piece, and, if you could walk around it and see it from all sides, you would notice it has an anthropomorphic quality. As a child, Tony Smith contracted TB and was quarantined in a tiny building in his family's backyard.  During this lonely time he developed an interest in the geometric elements of architecture -- an interest that remained with him throughout his life.

Do you know where this sculpture is located? Tony Smith has a daughter who is also a successful sculptor, do you know who she is? I will post the answers with tomorrow's "Art of the Day"

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Smiths in art - Tony, ?, and my favorite, David

I like Tony Smith's work... don't know about the daughter... but I really love the unrelated sculptor David Smith... I searched around to see if there is a David Smith in NEO and the Cleveland Museum has one blue spray paint study that looks cool but isn't on disply there (under construction) and there's no image available at the Cleveland Museum site (withheld by copyright), but I seem to recall seeing it in the current MOCA show "Persistence of Geometry", which I love and you reviewed here - a small image of the David Smith "Cubi Study", 1962 is in a database here - and the David Smith Estate has a full overview of the artist here... not to digress... I look forward to learning more about Tony and his daughter from you tomorrow.

Answers to Saturday's "Art of the Day"

Tony Smith's SPITBALL is located on the Quad of Case Western Reserve University. His daughter is the feminist artist Kiki Smith.

Agnes Gund just gave Cleveland a Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith    That's very cool. Last time I remember going through the Cleveland Museum, before it closed for renovation, in an area where they featured new gifts and acquisitions, they had a Kiki Smith that was given to the museum by Agnes Gund and her husband Daniel Shapiro. For those who only know the Gund name as a Foundation, or the former owners of the Cavs and now-Q, Aggie is one of the most knowing experts in art in the world, being President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I've known Aggie since I was a kid and know she has the best eye in art ever in any way associated to Cleveland, and much of the good modern art in the Cleveland Museum was given to us by Aggie, as well as Noguchi's "Portal" before the Justice Center downtown, so I was intrigued by the Kiki Smith - an image from Little Red Riding Hood. From the CMA website: " Kiki Smith is interested in feminist concerns and content, and her most recent work presents myths and fairy tales with subtle feminist revisions. Since 1999 Smith has been preoccupied with “Little Red Riding Hood,” a story which tells of a girl who takes food to her ailing grandmother. In the forest, the girl meets a wolf who, learning her purpose, rushes ahead and devours her grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood meets the same fate when she arrives at her grandmother’s cottage. Born illustrates the episode in which, in some versions of the tale, a hunter saves the girl and her grandmother by cutting open the wolf’s stomach. By representing Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother as standing upright in cloaks, and the wolf as a semicircle, Smith alludes to old master paintings depicting the Virgin Mary on a crescent moon. However, Smith rendered both females as self-portraits; thus, the scene also suggests many feminine apprehensions, from adolescent rites of passage to aging. Although best known as the sculptor whose three-dimensional constructions reintroduced the human figure as an important realm for artistic investigation and discovery, Smith also makes printmaking an integral part of her work."

That Kiki is focused on Little Red Riding Hood as a symbol of feminism fits Aggie Gund's social consciousness quite well... Aggie is one of the most progressive intellects on Earth, and a major supporter of progressive movements like Move On, and was a leader in the efforts to protect America and Ohio from George Bush, spending much time in Ohio campaigning for anyone but Bush during the last, disastrous presidential election Ohio painted red. I believe, in the past, Cleveland leaders' disrespect for this great woman's role in our community has alienated her, like we alienate Peter Lewis today, and that has deprived Clevelanders of great cultural assets and support. MoCA tapped into Aggie's world for help choosing an architect for their new museum, and that is a good sign of respect (so long as it isn't just a hollow gesture to tap into her bank account), but where we will really need Aggie's support in the years ahead is to make certain Ohio swings in the right direction in upcoming elections that will determine if America remains Red or goes True Blue once again, for the future. Ohio will be the key to America's future, and our two most important natives-now-departed, Aggie Gund and Peter Lewis, will be instrumental in funding political activism here against anything Bush, once again, and that is much more important than art and architecture, as important as they are. Thanks, Aggie, for all your efforts to make NEO True Blue, and giving Cleveland more great art, and teaching us about Kiki Smith and raising our social consciousness about feminism and human freedom.

At least a few of the other artwork given or loaned to the CMA by Agnes Gund: 
Wrapped Chair | 1996.29
 
Wrapped Chair | 1996.29
Christo
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The City | 1991.30
 
The City | 1991.30
Agnes Martin
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Tour | 1991.28
 
Tour | 1991.28
Philip Guston
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Plate Prop Roll | 1991.214
 
Plate Prop Roll | 1991.214
Richard Serra
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 Project for Keith Murdoch Court, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne | 1971.48
 
Wrapped Wool Bales: Project for Keith Murdoch Court, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne | 1971.48
Christo
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Man in a Brown Coat Visiting the Sick | 1977.48
 
Man in a Brown Coat Visiting the Sick | 1977.48
Jim Dine
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1989. A Portfolio of 11 Images Honoring Artists Lost to AIDS | 2000.161
 
1989. A Portfolio of 11 Images Honoring Artists Lost to AIDS | 2000.161
Nan Goldin
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Looking Along Broadway Towards Grace Church | 1991.27
 
Looking Along Broadway Towards Grace Church | 1991.27
Red Grooms
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Giufa e la Statua de Gesso | 1991.29
 
Giufa e la Statua de Gesso | 1991.29
Frank Stella
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The Cleveland Indian (After Eakins) | 1998.179
 
The Cleveland Indian (After Eakins) | 1998.179
R. B. Kitaj
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Old Church | 1998.11
 
Old Church | 1998.11
Hale Aspacio Woodruff
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In Blue | 2005.140
 
In Blue | 2005.140
Jim Hodges
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Çatal Hüyük (level VI B) Shrine VI B.1 | 2001.126
 
Çatal Hüyük (level VI B) Shrine VI B.1 | 2001.126
Frank Stella
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Born | 2004.34
 
Born | 2004.34
Kiki Smith
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Impala | 1983.68
 
Impala | 1983.68
Alex Katz
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Caprichos: There is Plenty to Suck | 1972.203
Francisco de Goya
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Turkeys | 1972.204
James McNeill Whistler
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Star of Persia I | 1972.92
Frank Stella
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Untitled | 1969.49
Larry Poons
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Calligraphic Study IV | 1976.128
Robert Motherwell
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White Mozart | 1988.26
Dorothea Rockburne
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Alien Huddle | 2002.65
Martin Puryear
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The Geldzahler Portfolio | 1998.306
Louise Bourgeois
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The River (State) | 2004.66
Ellsworth Kelly
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Cleveland Mural Drawing # 1, November 14, 2003 | 2005.63
Martin Kline

 

the city fettering nature -- no kidding

 
Cleveland Museum of Art

We have certainly achieved the fettering at this point. Still a timely idea for us to consider.

Nice photo, and great word of the day... fettering

Really lovely and thought provoking... I'm sure our great industrialists and developers think of themselves just like that... big strong gods controlling the world... makes me think of the mansions around town with lions and cannons in their front yards... Hummers in the garages... WalMarts in their portfolios.  And great word of the day - fettering... I had to look it up...

Noun 1. fetterfetter - a shackle for the ankles or feet
hamper, shackle, trammels, trammel, bond - a restraint that confines or restricts freedom (especially something used to tie down or restrain a prisoner)
Verb 1. fetter - restrain with fetters
handcuff, manacle, cuff - confine or restrain with or as if with manacles or handcuffs; "The police handcuffed the suspect at the scene of the crime"
restrain, hold, confine - to close within bounds, limit or hold back from movement; "This holds the local until the express passengers change trains"; "About a dozen animals were held inside the stockade"; "The illegal immigrants were held at a detention center"; "The terrorists held the journalists for ransom"