Moto Perpetuo, 1978
Mixed media on paper
12 3/4 x 85 5/8 in (32.4 x 217.5 cm)

Alexis Smith is known for her meticulously crafted mixed-media collages. Combining images, objects, and texts rescued from the detritus of popular culture—pulp novels of the 1940s and 1950s, postcards, road maps, movie stills, and advertising art—into witty, often sardonic statements, Smith examines and reconfigures American identity. In much of her work, the city of Los Angeles is a favored subject. Smith exploits the universal allure and fascination around Hollywood as the quintessential American transformational myth; the American Dream to ‘make it big.’ For her colorful mixed-media combinations and juxtapositions, Alexis Smith is a natural heiress to the spirit of Dada and Pop and assemblage artists such as Joseph Cornell.

In 2022, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego mounted a major retrospective exhibition and catalogue. Smith’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around the country, including: the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.