Michael Smith (b. 1951) is known for his groundbreaking work in performance art as well as his immersive mixed media installations. Since 1979, the majority of his work has centered on his extraordinarily prescient and sympathetic character, Mike. Smith's other recurring performance persona is Baby Ikki, whose bizarre and precipitous infancy is marked by conspicuous facial hair, oversized diapers, and undersized sunglasses.
Formatted and designed like a children's board book, Baby Ikki at the Museum features the eighteen-month-old character posing in front of works of art in the Whitney Museum of American Art. He acts as a wide-eyed explorer wandering in a new world, examining and responding to works in the Museum's collection by pointing, staring, or offering quizzical looks. Lacking judgment, consideration, and caution, Baby Ikki possesses an abundance of curiosity and has an insatiable appetite for attention, even when posing with priceless works of art. Providing an entirely new angle from which to view a premier art institution, the photographs in this book are at times comedic and at others unsettling for their irreverence and perceptiveness.
Co-published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and Christine Burgin / Distributed by Yale University Press