When abstract painter Lucien Smith manipulated a repurposed fire extinguisher and turned it loose onto a series of 9-foot-by-7-foot unprimed canvases — and, in 2014, sold one at auction for $372,000, nearly six times its estimate — the art world collectively lost its mind.
His rise through what he called his “Rain Paintings” series would be simultaneously meteoric and disruptive. The New York Times and Vogue named him the “art world wunderkind,” while ruthless critics attempted to tear him down. For a time, it worked.
After Artsy estimated that his work generated $3.7 million that year, Smith took a step back from the New York spotlight in 2015 by retreating to his home and studio in Montauk — disenchanted by dealer and gallery politics, and eager to reconnect with himself.
Five years later, he has done just that, and with poetic justice. Ten of the very same large-scale, controversial “Rain Paintings” are now on view for the first time as a group at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill through January. He waited for the right moment to place the paintings, he said, knowing that when they did reappear, they might look radically different to him.
And they do.Read More