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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b.1940, St. Ignatius, Flathead Reservation, MT) creates work that addresses the myths of her ancestors in the context of current issues facing Native Americans. 

Smith’s work engages with contemporary modes of making, from her idiosyncratic adoption of abstraction to her reflections on American Pop art and neo-expressionism. These artistic traditions are incorporated and reimagined with concepts rooted in Smith’s own cultural practice, reflecting her belief that her “life’s work involves examining contemporary life in America and interpreting it through Native ideology.” Employing satire and humor, Smith’s art tells stories that flip commonly held conceptions of historical narratives and illuminate absurdities in the formation of dominant culture. Smith’s approach importantly blurs categories and questions why certain visual languages attain recognition, historical privilege, and value. Smith is part of the new generation of Native American artists who are helping to redefine their culture's relationship to contemporary American life and its problematic past.

Smith has had more than eighty solo exhibitions over the past 30 years most recently a retrospective at the Whitney Museum, New York in 2023. She has organized and curated more than 30 Indigenous exhibitions and lectured at almost 200 universities, museums, and conferences. She has also completed several collaborative public art works such as the floor design in the Great Hall of the Denver International Airport; an in-situ sculpture piece in Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco, and mile-long sidewalk history trail in West Seattle.

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