Be[com]ing Dutch logo
Becoming Dutch
Becoming Dutch
Van Abbemuseum
  Site Map

Eindhoven Caucus

Michael Smit


Michael Smit is a Dutch artist based in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area. He holds a BFA degree from the Royal Academy of Art & Design in Den Bosch (The Netherlands), a BA degree from the Academy of Art Therapy in Nijmegen (The Netherlands), and a MFA degree from Mills College in Oakland (California, USA).

After moving from the Netherlands to the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area (USA) ten years ago, he initially continued his previous studio practice of painting and drawing on large formats of paper, while also starting an exploration of digital technology as that had became an ubiquitous part of contemporary life. At first primarily excited by his new cultural context, there were some aspects that troubled him. He gradually got to understand these as "disconnecting" in nature, negatively effecting the world where it's increasingly clear that nothing exists on its own. Looking for a way to deal with this as an artist, he found new direction when he he started to understand art as the creation of new meaning, through a creative back and forth process or dialogue between oneself and the world. This renewed conceptual clarity changed his practice and lead his artistic sensibilities through new channels.

In 2002 he abandoned his San Francisco painting studio for an art practice more embedded in the everyday 'real world' outside the studio. He creates and inserts temporary objects, processes, and contexts within existing and often public situations 'beyond the gallery'. Inclusive and accidental audiences are invited to activate and co-create the works in different ways. His art is no longer medium-centric, but more so situation-specific, and time and process based. For every project he'll choose from a wide range of media, depending on the situations at hand, and the possibilities he sees. He can be labeled as a relational and interventionist artist.

To him, art is not only the fundamental relational act that improves the quality of an individual life, and on which basis everybody indeed is an artist in ways (at least at times). Beyond that and because of the more meaningful relations with the world it inspires, he looks at art as relevant to and an essential vehicle in the survival of our species.

Michael Smit was awarded the Jay de Feo award (Jay de Feo Estate, California) and the Lucas Prize (City of Den Bosch, The Netherlands), and has shown his work in Europe and the United States.