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Apr. 27, 2011

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Artistic success is certainly part of the American Dream, and the 30-something Tennessee-born New York painter Josh Smith is definitely getting his share. Celebrated for his energetic "I can do anything" abstractions, many using his own name as the foundation of their imagery, Smith exhibits with Luhring Augustine in New York and has a modest auction record of about $30,000 for a single largish canvas. As has been widely reported, Venice Biennale curator Bice Curiger has tapped Smith to decorate the façade of the central expo pavilion as part of her "ILLUMInations" exhibition, June 4-Nov. 27, 2011, an honor previously given to John Baldessari and Barbara Kruger.

Meanwhile, it turns out that one of Smith's biggest collectors has been Connecticut art collector and polo player Peter Brant, an art world eminence grise if there ever was one. Last month Brant turned over his converted stone barn in Greenwich -- now known as the Brant Foundation Art Study Center -- to Smith for use as a studio, with the resulting exhibition -- "Josh Smith: The American Dream" -- opening by appointment on May 7, 2011, and running through September. Smith is said to have consulted both Urs Fischer and Julian Schnabel in his planning for the show.

The artist remains unfazed by his success, which also includes museum exhibitions and a commission from Greek collector Dakis Joannou. "I've done every big show and lots of galleries," he told Rachel Corbett of the New York Observer, "so I don't view this as a big thing at all." (Photo by Mary Barone)

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