Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map at Whitney Museum of American Art, April 19 – August 13, 2023

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map, on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from April 19 through August 13, 2023, is a recognition of a groundbreaking artist’s work. For nearly five decades, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, has charted an exceptional and unorthodox career as an artist, activist, curator, educator, and advocate. The exhibition highlights how Smith uses her drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures to flip commonly held historical narratives and illuminate absurdities in the dominant culture.

Memory Map is the largest and most comprehensive showcase of Smith’s career, featuring more than one hundred thirty works. Organized thematically across the Museum’s third and fifth floors, the exhibition offers a new framework to consider contemporary Native American art, addressing how Smith has led and initiated some of the most pressing dialogues around land, racism, and cultural preservation. It celebrates the artist’s dedication to creativity and community and emphasizes her deep political commitments, essential and potent reminders of our responsibilities to the earth and each other.” — Whitney Museum of American Art

Installation views of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map at Whitney Museum of American Art. Photos by Corrado Serra.

“The oldest art museum in New York was inaugurated sometime in the late 1800s, 150 years ago, and there are younger art museums approximately 90 years old, yet I am the first Native woman to have a major retrospective in New York City,” said Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. “The Whitney has jumped off the cliff and shattered the status quo. Hallelujah for them making this risky move. For what is the risk worth? It offers us more Native artists, the Nation’s First Peoples, our Original Peoples, to become part of the mainstream art world. I am deeply grateful to the Whitney, as well as Garth Greenan Gallery, for their kind, supportive, diligent work over four years. We are making history; we are plowing new ground; we are opening a staid, closed, colonial door. I am so thankful, lemlemts, lemlemts.”

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map was organized by Laura Phipps, Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, with Caitlin Chaisson, Curatorial Project Assistant.