via village voice
|Auteur of the notorious Flaming Creatures, performance artist before such a term existed, photographer of unlikely incandescences, “the Alfred Jarry of the East Village,” Smith died without a will in 1989.
Known to the cognoscenti but incapable of promoting himself, Smith influenced many who became more famous. He gave Robert Wilson his glacial pacing. He gave Andy Warhol the idea of using non-actors for his films and incorporating mistakes. Smith was the original DIY artist, scavenging on the streets to get material for props, sets, and costumes. A chapter called “The Sheer Beauty of Junk” in Stefan Brecht’s Queer Theatre sets Smith up as the forefather to Charles Ludlam, John Waters, and others who dared to mix the sublime with the Ridiculous. Richard Foreman called him “the hidden source of practically everything that’s of any interest in the so-called experimental American theater today.” read more here