Author(s): Bob Smith; Roberta Smith (Artist)
When Bob and Roberta Smith, pseudonym of British artist Patrick Brill, was elected as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2013, he had a more complex relationship with the institution than most. He remembered well the feeling of suspense as his parents, both artists, waited to find out if their submissions had been accepted for the annual Summer Exhibition. In The Secret to a Good Life, Bob and Roberta Smith introduces his mother, Deirdre Borlase, and her encounters with the often sexist and classist art establishment of postwar Britain. Her story has led her son to ruminate on the challenge art can pose to authority, as well as to reminisce on his experience of growing up in a household with two painters for parents. In the colorful signwriting style for which he is best known, Bob and Roberta Smith tells a poignant, witty family story and answers the question: What is the secret to a good life?