Jaune Quick-to-See Smith:
Apr 19–Aug 13, 2023
On view, Floors 3, 5
This exhibition is the first New York retrospective of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b. 1940, citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation), an overdue but timely look at the work of a groundbreaking artist. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map brings together nearly five decades of Smith’s drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures in the largest and most comprehensive showing of her career to date.
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.
Across decades and mediums, Smith has deployed and reappropriated ideas of mapping, history, and environmentalism while incorporating personal and collective memories. The retrospective will offer new frameworks in which to consider contemporary Native American art and show how Smith has led and initiated some of the most pressing dialogues around land, racism, and cultural preservation—issues at the forefront of contemporary life and art today.
This exhibition is organized by Laura Phipps, Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, with Caitlin Chaisson, Curatorial Project Assistant.
Generous support for Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map is provided by Judy Hart Angelo; the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation; Lise and Michael Evans; the Henry Luce Foundation; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Kevin and Rosemary McNeely, Manitou Fund; the Terra Foundation for American Art; and the Whitney’s National Committee.
Major support is provided by Forge Project, Garth Greenan Gallery, Sueyun and Gene Locks, and Susan and Larry Marx.
Significant support is provided by Chrissy Taylor and Lee Broughton, Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Susan Hayden, John and Susan Horseman Collection/Horseman Foundation, The Keith Haring Foundation Exhibition Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel M. Neidich, and Nancy and Fred Poses.
Additional support is provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund and Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg.
Verbal Description and Touch Tour: Memory Map
Sharing History for the Future: A Convening with Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
11 am–8 pm
Walter Annenberg Lecture:
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Whitney Teens x Artists: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Whitney Signs: Jaune Quick to See Smith
Mapping the Apocalypse:
Cycles of Collapse in Works by Josh Kline and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
On Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Lou Cornum, Larry McNeil Xhe Dhé Tee Harbor Jackson, and Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha)
“My Roots Extend”: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and the Landscape of Memory
Laura Phipps, Assistant Curator
Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from the exhibition.
Throughout her career as artist, activist, and educator, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b. 1940) has forged a personal yet accessible visual language she uses to address environmental destruction, war, genocide, and the misreading of the past. An enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Smith cleverly deploys elements of abstraction, neo-expressionism, and pop, fusing them with Indigenous artistic traditions to upend commonly held conceptions of historical narratives and illuminate absurdities in the formation of dominant culture. Her drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures blur categories and question why certain visual languages attain recognition, historical privilege, and value, reflecting her belief that her “life’s work involves examining contemporary life in America and interpreting it through Native ideology.” Also central to Smith’s work and thinking is the land and she emphasizes that Native people have always been part of the land: “These are my stories, every picture, every drawing is telling a story. I create memory maps.” The publication illustrates nearly five decades of Smith’s work in all media, accompanied by essays and short texts by contemporary Indigenous artists and scholars on each of Smith’s major bodies of work.Buy now