10 Questions is a recurring feature that asks artists and other cultural figures about their work, lives, and personal insights into the contemporary art world.
Now living in New York, Adam Parker Smith spent a number of years in Philadelphia. He has two upcoming solo shows — Forever 21 opening in November at Ever Gold Gallery in San Francisco and 9:4:1 opening in January at Store Front Bushwick in New York.
1. Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?
I was speaking with an artist friend of mine, Brent Birnbaum, a while back about the difficulties of coming up with concepts for pieces, or to be more accurate, I was complaining to him about my struggle with this. Brent, as he typically does when I share something with him that may be distressing me, let me know that he didn’t have any problem ever coming up with ideas and that in fact came up with ten a day. I asked him what his latest greatest idea was, and he told me about a project that he was developing. It was part performance, part interactive, semi-illegal and culminated in a simple and colorful framed work. I was immediately envious. I told Brent that I wished that this were my idea and asked him facetiously how much he would sell me the idea for the work; not the work itself, but the idea for the work, so that I could construct it myself, and it would be my own. Brent thought for a moment and let me know that the idea was not for sale, but if it were, he would charge around five thousand dollars. I told Brent that I was looking for something that was in the two hundred dollar range and asked him if he had any ideas at that price point. Brent said he did, and the next week he emailed me a list of about ten ideas, none of which I loved. I asked him to send me more, which again he did, and one caught my attention. The idea was to make a pair of Kanye West shutter shade sunglasses by cutting them out of a pair of venetian blinds. I sent Brent a check for two hundred dollars and made the piece. (I ended up having to construct my own venetian blinds out of aluminum flat bar)
I recently have purchased two more ideas, which I am making now.
2. What’s your art-world pet peeve?
3. Who is an artist that you think hasn’t received enough recognition?
I think all of my artist friends should be rich and famous by now. Most of them are not.
4. What’s your favorite place to see art?
I think in place of location I will state my method, which is by bicycle. My favorite place to see art would be in the Lower East Side or out in Bushwick if I am on my bike.
5. What’s the last show to surprise you? Why?
I went to a show in the Lower East Side a few months back that had two live eight-month-old white tigers.
6. What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?
My favorite weird thing that I have seen in a museum recently was chicken burrito, beef burrito by Darren Bader. The piece was two burritos sitting on a windowsill in a gallery at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.
7. What’s the worst piece of art you’ve ever made?
I have about 30 paintings from my first year of grad school that I would say are all tied for worst.
8. What’s the last great book you read?
I read a compilation of short stories by Isaac Asimov recently and was really amazed at the ingenuity and imagination of each story. The writing is unornamented and the style is transparent, but his ideas are magic. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written close to five hundred books. I admire his creative vigor.
9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I teach a high school art class two days a week, and I love to raise my voice.
10. What’s an idea for a work of art that you’ve thought about making but never will?
I have an ex that I think would look good taxidermied.
Adam Parker Smith is a New York-based sculpture and installation artist. He received his BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his MFA from Tyler School of Art. Smith has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Sculpture Space, Bemis, Djerassi, Jentel, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. His work has been shown widely in the USA as well as internationally at Urbis, Manchester, England, Nordine Zidoun, Luxembourg, The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Berkshire Museum, Massachusetts, The Soap Factory Minneapolis, Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Galerie Sho Contemporary, Tokyo, the Times Museum, Guangzhou, China, and the Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE. Smith’s work has been written about in New York Times, Art in America, Beautiful Decay, The Village Voice, Fiber Arts, ArtForum.com, Modern Painters, Art World, White Wall Magazine and The New York Post.