Twentieth Century

Alexis Smith
Twentieth Century #39
Mixed media and collage on paper, 1983
41 x 27 inches
Gift of Ruth and Murray Gribin
2001.010.119

For the series Twentieth Century, Alexis Smith collected large B-movie posters from swap meets and silkscreened the same text and image on over forty works. She took quotes directly from a movie titled Twentieth Century: “I’ve died so often / Made love so much / I’ve lost track of what’s real”; and, printed upside down, “I don’t live / I act.” On top of the text, Smith imposed an image of a “noirish” female character. Smith points out that the woman is either jumping or, if the poster is turned over, falling. By using advertisements and images from Hollywood, Smith humorously plays on our understanding of visual literacy. In this particular piece, she points toward the representation of female characters.