In May 2011, Lucien Smith (*1989) exhibited publicly for the first time. The two-person graduation exhibition Imagined Nostalgia at the private college Cooper Union was judged outstanding by the New York Times − Smith became a star overnight. The then art student got off to the perfect start in life as an artist. By his early 20s, he had a studio and assistants, his gallery shows were sold out before they opened, and his works fetched top prices at auction.
Buyers quickly turned out to be speculators looking for a quick resale. After four years, prices fell as fast as they had risen. Smith's promising career was over, he had hardly earned anything from the high sales figures in the secondary market. Since 2015, he has been living in the village of Montauk, where he is rediscovering himself as an artist. In 2022, this phase seems to have ended to a certain extent: Smith now works in Los Angeles.