© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

In Pee Body, sculptor Kiki Smith explores the female body and its private performance of basic functions. Concerned with interior biological processes of waste and regeneration, Smith subverts the Western sculptural tradition of the eroticized female form. Here the un-idealized life-size body of a woman, molded in sweet-smelling beeswax, crouches on the gallery floor with sparkling yellow beads streaming out behind her. The earthy subject is tempered by its delicate materials — wax and glass. The bowed head and folded arms suggest an introspective and vulnerable state, as our voyeuristic encounter with the crouched woman quietly insists we consider what constitutes improper behavior in communal space: is it the figure who publicly displays a private act, or the viewer who violates that privacy?

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1997.82
People
Kiki Smith, American (Nuremberg, Germany born 1954)
Title
Pee Body
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
1992
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States
Culture
American
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wax and glass beads (23 strands of varying lengths, 1' to over 15' long)
Dimensions
68.6 x 71.1 x 71.1 cm (27 x 28 x 28 in.)
Provenance
Kiki Smith, created 1992; [Fawbush Gallery, New York, NY]sold;to private collector, Barbara Fish Lee, and Fogg Art Museum, 1997.

Note: Barbara Lee made a gift of her portion in 2014.


Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Barbara Lee, Gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Purchase in part from the Joseph A. Baird, Jr., Francis H. Burr Memorial and Director's Acquisition Funds
Copyright
© Kiki Smith
Accession Year
1997
Object Number
1997.82
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Kiki Smith: Silent Work, exh. cat., Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna, Austria, 1992), pps. 52, 74-75, illustrated in color (incorrectly titled Lot's Wife)

Barbara Pollack, "Leaping off the Pedestal", Art News (June 1998), p. 107, color repro.

David Bjelajac, American Art: A Cultural History, Prentice Hall, Inc. (2005), p. 458

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 245, ill.

Francesca Herndon-Consagra and Sydney Jane Norton, Dreamscapes, exh. cat., Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, Missouri, 2011), pp. 9-10, Main Gallery Stairs section, three consecutive pages, ill. (color).

Exhibition History

Dreamscapes, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 02/11/2011 - 08/13/2011

32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 10/13/2016

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu