Tony Smith


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(b South Orange, NJ, 23 Sept. 1912; d New York, 26 Dec. 1980).

American sculptor, painter, and architect. He served an apprenticeship in architecture as clerk of works to Frank Lloyd Wright and practised as an architect from 1940 to 1960, during which time he also painted. He began to take an interest in sculpture around 1940, but although he taught at various colleges in the 1940s and 1950s (in addition to his architectural career) and was closely associated with leading avant-garde figures such as Newman, Pollock, Rothko, and Still, he did not exhibit sculpture publicly until 1964. From that time he quickly emerged as one of the leading exponents of Minimal art. His work was sometimes very large in scale, composed of bold geometrical shapes (often repeated modular units) that he had industrially manufactured in steel. Many of his works were placed outdoors, helping to bring to American sculpture a new interest in the environment. A well-known example is Gracehoper (1972, Detroit Inst. of Arts), which one can walk through. His daughter KikiSmith (b 1954) is a sculptor and Body artist; another daughter, SetonSmith (b 1955), is a photographer.

Subjects: Art.

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