Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants.
Smith was a 2016 Recipient for the Herb Alpert Awards in the Arts in Film and Video and was the inaugural recipient of the Ellsworth Kelly Award in 2016. She has received several grants and awards including the Rockefeller Media Arts Award, the Creative Capital Grant, the Chicago 3Arts Grant, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Artadia Award, and the Rauschenberg Residency. She participated in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and has presented several solo exhibitions including at The Art Institute of Chicago; the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, Oregon; the Contemporary Arts Center, UC Irvine, California; The Kitchen, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Threewalls, Chicago. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; the Houston Contemporary Art Museum; the Yerba Buena Center for Art, San Francisco; the New Museum, New York; D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin.
Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the School of Theater Film and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles. Smith is represented by Corbett vs. Dempsey in Chicago and Kate Werble in New York. She recently joined the Studio Art program at the California Institute of the Arts.
Portrait photo by Clarence I. Smith.