Secret Garden Laughing Place: Shinique Smith

Photo by Maurice L. Hewitt

Photo by Maurice L. Hewitt

Secret Garden Laughing Place: shinique smith
February 2 - June 25, 2017

Secret Garden Laughing Place was conceived an expansive labyrinth and abstract painting contemplating matters of transnational consumption, as well as the human need for play and wonder. Children were encouraged to crawl and directly engage with the vibrant installation and think about our inter-connectivity as humans, our role in waste production, and our relationship to this planet.  The installation was a whimsical view of how that which has been casted off can become new.  Adopting references to femininity, graffiti, and global intersections of race, economics, and spirituality, artist Shinique Smith used discarded clothing as a medium for exploring how buying and disposing clothes impacts our environment and our neighbors in developing regions around the globe. 

Musing on things that brought her joy as a child, Smith constructed a fun-filled place for children to independently problem solve by connecting and playing with others while navigating this intricate exhibition. The installation incorporated low doorways, secret corners, and a reading nook filled with a selection of children’s stories, curated by the artist, to bolster the ideas anchoring this show. The Secret Garden was an installation commissioned in 2011 by San Diego’s New Children’s Museum for its group exhibition Trash. Shinique Smith: Secret Garden Laughing Place was organized for the first time in New York at our Museum by Lauren Kelley, Associate Director, Curatorial Programs. Exhibition-based curricula were designed by Jennifer Ifil-Ryan, Associate Director, Education & Community Engagement.


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Shinique Smith lives and works in Ulster County, New York. Smith’s work has also been exhibited nationally and abroad in such venues as The New Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Smith is represented by David Castillo Gallery (Miami) and Brand New Gallery (Milan).



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Exhibitions and related programs are made possible thanks to generous support from Agnes Gund, and additional support provided, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with New York City Council, and from The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.