Smith speaking at the Brooklyn Museum, 2014
New York City, New York, United States
Born in New York City and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Smith studied at Grinnell College in Iowa. Her career in the arts started in 1968 while an undergraduate summer intern at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
In 1968-69 she participated in the Art History/Museum Studies track of the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP) where she met and developed an affinity for Donald Judd and became interested in minimal art.
After graduation, she returned to New York City in 1971 to take a secretarial job at the Museum of Modern Art, followed by part-time assistant jobs to Judd in the early 1970s, and Paula Cooper for the first three years that she had her gallery, beginning in 1972. While at the Paula Cooper Gallery she wrote exhibition reviews for Artforum, and subsequently for Art in America, the Village Voice and other publications as well. Smith has written and spokes about Judd on numerous occasions throughout her career, and upon his death in 1995, Smith penned the New York Times obituary for Judd.
Smith has written numerous essays for catalogues and monographs on contemporary artists, and wrote the featured essay in the Judd catalogue raisonné published by the National Gallery of Canada in 1975. She writes not only about contemporary art but about the visual arts in general, including decorative arts, popular and outsider art, design and architecture.
Smith is a longtime advocate for museums to be free and open to the public.
In 2012, Smith received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2017, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago awarded Smith her second honorary Doctorate.
- "Roberta Smith". The New York Times. 2018-03-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- Christopher Bolen, "Roberta Smith & Jerry Saltz", Interview magazine, undated.
- "Roberta Smith and Holland Cotter Named Co-Chief Art Critics of The New York Times". Observer. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- Art., Whitney Museum of American (2008). Independent study program : 40 years : Whitney Museum of American Art, 1968-2008 (1st ed.). New York: Whitney Museum of American Art. ISBN 9780874271584. OCLC 262737522.
- "Local History: Donald Judd Design Objects". Judd Foundation. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- Smith, Roberta (2006-04-24). "Christie's Presale Show: Light and Space Enough to Really See Judd". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- Smith, Roberta (1995-02-26). "ART; The World According to Judd". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- Stevens, Mary Clare. "Roberta Smith with Jarrett Earnest". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- Pilat, Kasia (2018-02-28). "From 'Vicious' to Celebratory: The Times's Reviews of Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- Cotter, Holland; Smith, Roberta (2018-01-04). "The Met Should Be Open to All. The New Pay Policy Is a Mistake". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- "Roberta Smith to Accept Honorary Doctorate, Holland Cotter at Work on Book". Observer. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- "SAIC Announces its 2017 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctorate Recipients". School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- "Jerry Saltz and the Future of the Critic-Artist | artnet News". artnet News. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- "Roberta Smith & Jerry Saltz". Interview Magazine. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
- "Awards". The College Art Association. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- "The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics | Roberta Smith Criticism A Life Sentence". www.veralistcenter.org. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
- "Roberta Smith - American Academy". American Academy. Retrieved 2018-03-18.