Freund visiting artist announced

Installation artist Allison Smith will serve as the inaugural Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Visiting Artist in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Smith is known for creating large-scale works that critically engage popular forms of historical re-enactment, along with crafts and other traditional cultural conventions, to redo, restage and refigure historical memories.

Launched in partnership with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Freund Visiting Artist program joins a similar collaboration — the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellows program — between the Sam Fox School and the Saint Louis Art Museum, which was initiated in 1995.

Both programs are made possible with support from the Henry L. and Natalie Edison Freund Art Endowment Fund.

During the fall, Smith, an assistant professor of sculpture at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, will make multiple visits to Sam Fox School and will participate in an interdisciplinary course titled “Past Present, Present Tense.”

Led by Lauren Adams, assistant professor of painting, the course will investigate the use of historical research as a strategy within contemporary artistic practice. Smith’s work will culminate with a solo exhibition at the Kemper Art Museum, curated by Adams, in spring 2010.

Smith’s installations draw on well-known and popular U.S. historical sites, “living history” museums and Civil War battle re-enactments to explore the conventions of craft and their role in constructing national identity.

At the same time, her work refigures the relationship between American history, the invisible identities of marginalized groups and viewers’ collective role in shaping politics and history.

For “The Muster,” a public art event that took place on New York’s Governors Island in 2005, Smith enlisted hundreds of individuals to fashion uniforms, build campsites and declare responses to the question “What are you fighting for?”

In “Notion Nanny,” Smith played the role of itinerant apprentice, working with blacksmiths, lace-makers, linen-weavers and other artisans throughout England and the United States.

“Victory Hall” featured 100 wooden rifles arranged in decorative patterns as well as five life-sized dolls constructed, in the 19th-century manner, from porcelain and stuffed linen. For “Jugs, Pitchers, Bottles, and Crocks, Household Linens and Yardage in Stock,” Smith worked with Pittsburgh potter Bernard Jakub to create a series of stoneware vessels in which text and cobalt blue imagery commemorate contemporary events. Smith has exhibited in venues throughout the United States and abroad.

Born in Manassas, Va., in 1972, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Parsons School of Design in 1995. In 1999, she earned a master of fine arts degree from the Yale University School of Art, and in 1999-2000, she participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.

Natalie Edison Freund, who died in 2007, was a Washington University alumna as well as a past member of the alumni board of governors, the Sam Fox School National Council and the board of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Her husband, Henry L. Freund, was owner of Freund Baking Co. in St. Louis. He died in 1980.

Sam Fox School, Art Museum name Freund Fellows

Artists Bruce Yonemoto and Ian Monroe will serve as the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellows for the academic years 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively. The fellowship consists of two month-long residencies in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and a “Currents” exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The open-call search was led by Patricia Olynyk, the Florence and Frank Bush Professor and director of the Graduate School of Art; and by Charlotte Eyerman, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum; along with Tricia Paik, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art and curator of the “Currents” exhibition.

Yonemoto is known for imaginative and theoretically sophisticated multimedia artworks that explore intersections between the world of the gallery and the world of the television screen. Through films, videos, installations and sculptural objects, Yonemoto plays with the conventions of Hollywood and post-World War II American iconography — incorporating narrative, kitsch and formal experimentation — while also investigating the role of visual culture in both describing and colonizing non-Western cultures.

In 1972, Yonemoto earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and then studied at the Sokei Art Institute in Tokyo before earning a master of fine arts degree from the Otis Art Institute in 1979. He serves as professor and chair of studio art at the University of California, Irvine.

Monroe creates large-scale collages from everyday materials — including vinyl, Formica, linoleum, Perspex, aluminum, foam-core and leather — that seem to recall the design aesthetic of 1970s suburban America. Yet with their day-glow colors and fractured modernist geometries, Monroe’s cavernous-yet-depopulated spaces also suggest a corporate vernacular of hotel lobbies, conference halls and airport terminals, while at the same time holding out the promise, never quite fulfilled, of rational, human-scaled Renaissance perspective.

Based in London, Monroe has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions throughout Europe.

Monroe earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in 1995 and a master’s degree from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 2002. He most recently served as a visiting artist at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University; and as an associate lecturer at the Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts, London.