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Renowned speaker hosts Q&A with students
More than 200 students awaited Kiki Smith’s arrival Tuesday night, gathered around a makeshift stage in UNT’s Lightwell Gallery.
Smith is a featured artist in the annual Nasher Lecture Series, which honors the legacy of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher. This is the series’ 13th year.
Robert Milnes, Dean of Creative Visual Arts and Design, said the series has become more complex in the last four to five years. Previously, the artists featured only spoke at the Nasher in Dallas.
Kiki Smith is an internationally renowned artist who works in many different types of media but is most known for her sculpture work.
“I just can’t wait to ask about her process of inspiration,” art education freshman Phillip Frye said.
In the three decades of showcasing her work, Smith has been honored numerous times and has been deemed by The New York Times as “one of the most influential sculptors of her generation.”
Smith was on campus Monday and Tuesday, speaking at the gallery and visiting classes. She also toured UNT’s print facilities where a video night with films featuring her was held for students on Friday, as a precursor to her visit.
Students were able to listen to Smith and then participate in a Q&A session afterward.
“She was so down to earth. You would think she was a personal friend by the way she answered her questions,” freshman art major Anna Criswell said. “She has personally been my favorite artist for the last year so you can only imagine the excitement her visit gave me.”
According to Criswell, her favorite part of the lecture was realizing how personal Kiki Smith’s her work is and what inspires her.
“Reanimation and reincarnation,” Smith said. “I was doing pastel paintings until a guy I was seeing bought her a copy of “Gray’s Anatomy,” which is when I got into sculpting human form.”
Milnes, who originally suggested she speak with the students, described Smith as “simply charming,” and hopes Smith will come back for other lectures.
When asked if being an artist was hard, Smith laughed.
“No, it’s the best lifestyle you could have,” she said.