In June 2020 our long-standing partner Contemporary Art Society has acquired twelve ceramic and tapestry works by artist Matt Smith. This acquisition will become a central focus for the displays at the Hove Museum when it reopens. This exciting project was possible due to the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund in partnership with Frieze London, which is a new initiative supporting artists and museums during the Covid-19 pandemic. The CAS Rapid Response Fund is being used to purchase works by artists to add to collections of museums across the UK – ensuring financial support goes where it is needed most. We are thrilled that Hove Museum will now feature a major installation of Matt Smith's artworks, which is highly illustrative of his style and artistic research. Much of Matt Smith’s work explores and comments on marginalised history and it will form a key inspiration for activity sessions as the museum expands its work with groups with varied critical social needs.
"What museums collect, and what this tells us about what society deems important, is an ongoing fascination to me. Recent events have shown how important objects, and particularly sculpture, are in the national debate about who we are and how we got here. I have worked with the museums in Brighton and Hove many times over the last decade and am delighted that this acquisition leads on from that relationship. I look forward to seeing how the works are interpreted and curated to help the widest possible audience feel welcomed and visible within the museums," – Smith says.
In 2015 / 2016, Matt was Artist in Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2009 he received the ARC Award for Craft from Aspex Gallery and was awarded the inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014. At Collect 2018, he was awarded "Object of the Show" by Ekow Eshun. For Collect 2020, Cynthia Corbett and Matt Smith co-curated a site-specific installation featuring textiles and black parian works. The curation was extremely well-received, and Matt was awarded the inaugural Brookfield Properties Crafts Council Collection Prize, which allowed the Crafts Council to purchase six artworks for the Council's collection. The V&A Museum's Design and Textiles department also acquired one of Matt's subversive embroideries.
Matt regularly exhibits his work at public collections including Coming Out, Walker Art Gallery 2017, A Place at the Table, Pallant House, 2014; Subversive Design, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, 2013; DIY A Revolution in Handicrafts, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburg, 2010.
Matt Smith started his career at the V&A before developing exhibitions at the Science Museum and the British Film Institute. After retraining as a ceramicist, his work has often taken the form of hybrid artist/curator. His large scale solo shows have addressed themes including the legacy of colonisation in Losing Venus (Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford) and Flux: Parian Unpacked (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), LGBT visibility in Queering the Museum (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2010) and Other Stories (Leeds University Art Collection, 2012). Matt co-directed and curated Unravelling the National Trust which saw over thirty artists working with contemporary craft (including himself) commissioned to respond to the histories of the National Trust properties Nymans House, Uppark House and The Vyne. Matt holds a practice-based PhD from the University of Brighton. The PhD explored the use of craft techniques in contemporary art by artists exploring identities. He is Professor of Ceramics and Glass at Konstfack University of the Arts, Stockholm and Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. His work is held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum as well as numerous private international collections.
Matt Smith is internationally represented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery.