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Barbara T. Smith

Barbara T
American Artist
F-Space; Experimental Art Gallery

Barbara T. Smith (born 1931 in Pasadena, California) is an American artist known for her performance art in the late 1960s, exploring themes of food, nurturing, the body, spirituality, and sexuality. Smith was part of the Feminist Movement in Southern California in the 1970s and has collaborated in her work with scientists and other artists. Her work has been widely exhibited and collected by major museums including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Hammer MuseumMOCALACMA, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

She studied painting, art history and religion as an undergraduate at Pomona College, graduating in 1953. In 1965, after raising three children, she returned to study at Chouinard Art Institute, making The Black Glass Paintings, a series of primarily black surfaces under glass.  She received her MFA from University of California, Irvine in 1971. During her time at UC Irvine, Smith and other artists such as Nancy Buchanan and Chris Burden founded F-Space, the experimental art gallery where she launched her career as a performance artist (this is also where Burden’s notorious Shoot (1971) was staged).

Her early collaborative experiments with computer scientists resulted in several site-specific installations that incorporated early computing devices to allow for interactive capabilities, rare at the time.