Allison Smith uses American history and traditional crafts as a starting point from which to imagine and create new narratives for the twenty-first century. The Muster documents an open-air public event staged by the Public Art Fund on May 14, 2005, during which Smith appointed herself Mustering Officer and asked the public, "What are you fighting for?" More than 70 volunteers answered her call to arms, creating a temporary "militia" in which each enlistee designed his or her own uniform and created a campsite expressing his or her stated cause, from the political to the whimsical, addressing art history, technology, craft, gender politics, gay rights, democracy and sociology, just to name a few. The Muster is designed with an eye toward utilitarian government-issue printed materials, just as the exhibition brochures and announcements were modeled on Civil War-era broadsheets, circus posters and soldier's diaries. Smith was born in Manassas, Virginia, in 1972. She is represented in New York by Bellwether Gallery.