Best known for his performance persona named Mike, Michael Smith received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Programme.
The majority of Smith’s work chronicles the dreams and adventures of his two main alter-egos: the extraordinarily prescient and sympathetic alter-ego, the naïve and somewhat inept Everyman ‘Mike’ and ‘Baby Ikki’, an ambiguously ageless, sexless figure, as they each navigate (to varying degrees of success) the absurdities and alienation of the tragicomedy that is contemporary American life. Smith is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship award (1985), four National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships (1978, ’82, ’88, ’91), and most recently The Alpert Award in the Arts (2012).

Michael Smith, "¡Imagina La Vista Desde Aquí!", 2018, Courtesy of Museo Jumex, Mexico City
Michael Smith
Chicago, 1951

Past Exhibitions

Michael Smith: ¡Imagina La Vista Desde Aquí!

Museo Jumex Arte Contemporáneo
08/12/2018 — 10/03/2019

Always a knit of identity, always distinction

Galeria Jaqueline Martins
14/11/2016 — 20/12/2016

The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Moving Things

Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – Le Crédac‏
12/09/2014 — 21/12/2014

Toys Redux – On Play and Critique

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
30/05/2015 — 16/08/2015

Solo Shows

Michael Smith, Museo Jumex, Mexico City
Excuse me!?!…I’m looking for the “Fountain of Youth”, Boca Raton Museum, Boca Raton

Learning From Youth, Richard Telles, Los Angeles

2016 Yale Union, Portland, OR

2015 Tate Modern, London Greene Naftali, New York

2012 Dan Gunn, Berlin

2010 West of Rome, Los Angeles 2008 Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

Group Shows

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.


Social Surfaces: A Fundraising Exhibition, Artists Space, New York
FEEDBACK, Marlborough Contemporary, New York
The Skulptur Projekte 2017, Carina Plath, and Kasper König, Münster, Germany Post-apocalyptic Realism: It’s After the End of the World. Don’t You Know That?, Museum Brandhorst, Munich


SEVEN-ish, Seriously Funny, The Boiler, Brooklyn


Back to the Future Artissima, Oval, Torino
No Joke, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Works on Paper, Greene Naftali, New York
Quality Television, Light Industry, Brooklyn, New York
From the Object to the World, Inhotim Collection, Itaú Cultural, São Paulo
The Radiants, Bortolami Gallery, New York
Performing Franklin Furnace, Participant Inc., New York
Positions: Film Series, Hales Gallery, London

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Chicago Country of birth: USA Date of birth: 1951