Tacoma Art Museum opens major exhibition of Native American Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s art

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On Saturday, March 9, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors will open at Tacoma Art Museum. This major exhibition, which features the artist’s diverse work, will be on view in Tacoma through June 30. The exhibition was organized by the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is one of the U.S.’s finest Indigenous talents. Smith is a mature, late-career artist with extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit.

She mines her cross-cultural experience and Salish-Kootenai identity, and spans cultures with powerful, idiosyncratic results of high aesthetic caliber. Smith has an international reputation with a strong, clear body of work; she has earned her leading standing among women artists and Native American artists while simultaneously aligning both of these often still marginalized groups more closely with the mainstream art world.

The exhibition will examine themes that perennially recur in her work, including conflict, compassion, peace, the cycle of life, irony, and identity. Smith has always operated on a cusp – culturally, temporally, aesthetically, and from a gender perspective – which gives her work an attention-getting vitality, originality, and relevance. Her role in the shift toward deepening respect for Native American contemporary art in its own right has been significant. She describes herself as a “cultural arts worker.” Smith also has credits as a curator, writer, speaker, and leader in the arts.

Smith has more than 100 solo exhibitions in 28 states to her credit, from California to Florida and from the northern Plains states to Texas. She has also exhibited internationally and in dozens more group exhibitions worldwide. In addition to holdings at Tacoma Art Museum, her work is held in the permanent collections of such notable institutions as the Albuquerque Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Denver Art Museum, Indianapolis Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, and Yellowstone Art Museum.

Smith has four honorary Ph.D.s and 16 major awards, including National Academician, New Mexico Governor’s Award, a lifetime achievement award from the Woodson Foundation, a Wallace Stegner Award, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation award.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by notable essayists Lowery Stokes Sims and Gail Tremblay. The exhibition includes more than 40 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s collection, the Yellowstone Art Museum’s permanent collection, and other private collectors. Organized by the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mont. Both exhibition and catalogue are supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and numerous private sponsors.

The members’ preview will be held Friday, March 8 from 5-7 p.m.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, “The Swap,” 2015, oil on canvas, 60×40 inches. Courtesy of the Accola Griefen Gallery, Brooklyn, New York. Credit: Tacoma Art Museum

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