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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, NA: Making Medicine

  • Garth Greenan Gallery 545 West 20th Street New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

Selected Works

Press Release

Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Making Medicine, an exhibition of recent works at 545 West 20th Street. Opening on Thursday, April 12, 2018, the exhibition is the artist’s rst with the gallery. Seven of Smith’s thickly impastoed, mixed-media paintings will be on view, as well as Trade Canoe: Fry Bread (2018), a canoe-frame sculpture cradling loaves of the Native American staple, fry bread.

The exhibition will include four of Smith’s Trade Canoe paintings, a series she began in the early-’90s. Smith recalls her father’s stories from childhood of older Native Americans—survivors, scarred from accepting blankets and other provisions from settlers in canoes. It was under the guise of “trade” that colonizers dealt many of their deadliest blows, from smallpox to land theft.

Works like Trade Canoe for the North Pole (2017) foreground contemporary concerns, like climate change, amidst unrelenting commerce. The canoe is loaded with cacti, palm trees, Lone Ranger comics, and bingo cards. This Noah’s Arc of American commercialism drifts onwards, perhaps fatally, as collaged text provides ominous reminders of our environment’s imperiled future. One characteristically glib headline pulled from a newspaper reads “Showing the Snow Who’s Boss.”

Her sculptural work, ostensibly celebrating the now ubiquitous Native American foodstuff, is similarly layered. The Navajo and Apache made the first fry bread from scant government provisions during the notorious Long Walk in 1964—a 400-mile, 18-day forced march away from their homelands during which many died. The bread is at once a symbol of cultural resilience and adaptability even as it is a reminder of immense cruelty.

Born in 1940 in St. Ignatius, Montana, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation. In 1980, she earned an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Since the late 1970s, Smith has had over 50 solo exhibitions, including at Kornblee Gallery (1979, New York), Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (1990, New York), Steinbaum Krauss Gallery (1992, 1995, 1998, New York), and Jan Cicero Gallery (2000 and 2002, Chicago). In 2004, the Milton Hershey School Art Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania) opened Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Made in America which traveled to Keene State College (Keene, New Hampshire)

Smith’s work is in the collections of the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Detroit Institute of Arts; Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe; Heard Museum, Phoenix; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.