Jaune Quick-to-See Smith at Yellowstone Art Museum

Exhibition marks indigenous artist's first solo show in Montana in a generation

Art Beat
"The Swamp" by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
“The Swamp” by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, whose work is on display at the Yellowstone Art MuseumPhoto © Yellowstone Art Museum

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s diverse art is on display at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings through July 16. The major exhibition, “In the Footsteps of My Ancestors,” subsequently travels to Missoula and Colorado Springs and includes 44 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s collection, the Yellowstone Art Museum’s permanent collection, and other private collectors.

Smith is considered one of the nation’s finest indigenous talents. This timely exhibition marks her first solo show in her native Montana in a generation.

The mature, late-career artist has extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit. She mines her cross-cultural experience and Salish-Kootenai identity, and spans cultures with powerful paintings of high aesthetic caliber. Few Native artists have worked with such grace, inventiveness, and aesthetic success between cultures and art worlds.

Smith has an international reputation among women artists and Native American artists, while simultaneously aligning both of these often marginalized groups more closely with the mainstream art world.

The YAM exhibition will examine themes that perennially recur in her work, including conflict, compassion, peace, the cycle of life, irony, and identity. Smith describes herself as a “cultural arts worker,” whose work has deepened respect for Native American contemporary art. She’s also known as a curator, writer, speaker, and leader in the arts.

Smith has tallied more than 100 solo exhibitions in 28 states, from California to Florida and the northern Plains states to Texas. She has also exhibited internationally and in dozens of group exhibitions worldwide.

In addition to holdings in Montana museums (YAM and the Missoula Art Museum in particular), her work is held in the permanent collections of such notable institutions as the Albuquerque Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute, 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, and the Walker Art Center. Smith has four honorary doctorates and has received 16 major awards.

Her exhibit in Billings is part of the Yellowstone Art Museum’s multi-year Montana Masters exhibition series. A catalog with contributions by notable essayists Lowery Stokes Sims and Gail Tremblay accompanies the display.

For details, visit www.artmuseum.org.