Cauleen Smith was raised in Sacramento, California and lives in Los Angeles. Smith is faculty in the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. Smith holds a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. Smith’s short films, feature film, an installation and performance work were showcased at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019. Smith has had solo exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, MassMoCA and LACMA. Smith is the recipient of the following awards: Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Creative Capital Film/Video, Chicago 3Arts Grant, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Chicago Expo Artadia Award, and Rauschenberg Residency, Herb Alpert Awards in the Arts in Film and Video 2016, United States Artists Award 2017, 2016 inaugural recipient of the Ellsworth Kelly Award, 2020 recipient of the Studio Museum Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, and 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship.