Allison Smith has produced over twenty-five solo exhibitions, installations, performances, and artist-led participatory projects for venues such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Public Art Fund, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Arts Club of Chicago, and S!GNAL Center for Contemporary Art, among many others. She has exhibited her work in group exhibitions at galleries and museums including P.S.1/MoMA, Palais de Tokyo, the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, MASS MoCA, and The Tang Museum. Smith has lectured on her work extensively at art schools and research universities in the United States and abroad, as well as at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, SculptureCenter and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Her work has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture, on NPR, KQED, Art:21, PBS The Art Assignment, and in many other media and scholarly publications. Smith has received generous support from United States Artists, Arts Council England, FOR-SITE Foundation, Creative Work Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Artadia, the National Endowment for the Arts, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Notable residencies include IASPIS (Stockholm, Sweden), The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Museum of Modern Art Artists Experiment initiative (New York, New York), the International Studio and Curatorial Program (Brooklyn, New York), Artpace San Antonio (Texas), and Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, California). Her work is held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Saatchi Gallery London, Linda Pace Foundation, and many other public and private collections worldwide. Smith is represented by Haines Gallery in San Francisco.
Smith was born in Manassas, Virginia in 1972. She received a BA in psychology from The New School for Social Research, a BFA in fine arts from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA in sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. She also participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She lived in New York City from 1990 until 2008 when she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to join the faculty of California College of the Arts, where until recently she was Associate Professor and Chair of the Sculpture Program. In 2017 Smith joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University School of Art as Associate Professor of Art in the area of Sculpture, Installation, and Site-Work. Recent and ongoing projects include Common Goods produced with the Cambridge Arts Council and shown at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Models for a System a collaboration with Christina Zetterlund at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, and Be Not Still at DiRosa center for contemporary art in Napa, California.