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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is named 2012 Living Artist of Distinction


Santa Fe, New Mexico – The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is pleased to honor Jaune Quick-to-See Smith as a Living Artist of Distinction, and will present the exhibition Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Landscapes of an American Modernist from January 27 – April 29, 2012.

Smith is an enrolled Sqelix'u (Salish) member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation and is one of the best-known Native America artists of the late twentieth century. Smith distinguishes herself as a modernist in both her pursuit of abstraction and her expressive technique in oil paint, pastel, and printmaking.

The Living Artists of Distinction series began in 2000 to fulfill an important part of the museum’s mission to define the “ongoing significance” of Georgia O’Keeffe’s legacy. Artists are selected for this honor because their work expresses the modernist principles that O’Keeffe and other members of the Alfred Stieglitz circle espoused in the first decades of the twentieth century, and because they have achieved positions of prominence in American art. Smith, who has lived and worked in New Mexico since 1976, is the first Native American artist to be recognized in the series.

Like Georgia O’Keeffe, Smith embraced her new environment and began painting landscapes that express a deeply personal sense of place and connection to the land of New Mexico. But while O’Keeffe focused her attention on the timeless uninhabited landscapes of her adopted home, Smith’s “inhabited landscapes” express the human conflict marked on the land. The exhibition will focus on Smith’s inhabited landscapes, in which she joins modernist color and techniques with her unique visual vocabulary of figures. Describing her artistic strategy, Smith explains, “My life’s work involves examining contemporary life in America and interpreting it through Native ideology.”

Carolyn Kastner, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Associate Curator, has organized this exhibition to include both oil paintings and works on paper from two of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s most powerful series. She says, “Smith contributes to American modernism by drawing upon her complex cultural heritage—both Native and non-Native—to expand the definitions of ‘American’ and ‘modernist’ art.” Smith began the Petroglyph Park Series just five years after she earned her MA in art from the University of New Mexico. The series visualizes the contested lands along the Río Grande River, west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The intensely worked oil paintings were created by Smith between 1985 and 1987, when the ancient petroglyphs on the steep volcanic cliffs, near the artist’s home, were threatened by a suburban housing development. The series established Smith’s artistic voice in the lineage of American landscape painting. Her brilliant color, compositional style, and gestural layers of paint, ground Smith’s painting in modern abstraction, even as she extends the tradition with her unique visual vocabulary of plants, animals and humans.

By 1989, Smith began to work in a postmodern technique using found materials, text, and images in a series named for Chief Seattle, whose eloquent speech of 1854 is still remembered as an ecological prophecy. Seattle’s words invoke the spirit of the land and its inseparability from its inhabitants. Smith’s pastels from that period create a sense of urgency with beautiful but threatening images of the polluted landscape of the late twentieth century. Like Georgia O’Keeffe, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s personal and passionate attachment to New Mexico has transformed American art and our vision of the landscape.

“This exhibition is the first of many upcoming exhibitions to recognize the diverse expressions of Modernism. We are proud to include the work of Hopi artists Ramona Sakiestewa and Dan Namingha in our exhibition Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land, which will open in 2013. We will be showing their abstract artwork, inspired by Hopi Katsinam, with O’Keeffe’s paintings and drawings of Hopi katsina tithu (katsina dolls),” says Kastner.

What: Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Landscapes of an American Modernist

When: January 27 – April 29, 2012

Where: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico

More Information:

Request Images: Kristin Kautz, 505.946.1037 or


Thursday, January 26, 6 PM


Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Creating an Artist’s Life

Introduction by Carolyn Kastner, Associate Curator

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, an enrolled Sqelix'u (Salish) member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, describes the journey from her birth place in Montana and her first mail order art course to her first solo exhibition in New York City. The exhibition opening at the O’Keeffe Museum, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Landscapes of an American Modernist is tightly focused on the paintings and works on paper produced by the artist between 1985 and 1991. During that period Jaune Quick-to-See Smith earned an international reputation as a prolific artist, curator of Contemporary Native American Art, a popular teacher and lecture, as well as an outspoken environmentalist. These interests are expressed in her artwork, which visualizes her passions like a journal.

COST: $5; Members and Business Partners FREE.

LOCATION: Scottish Rite Center 463 Paseo de Peralta

RESERVATIONS: 505.946.1039 or online at

Sunday, March 11, 2 PM


A Conversation with Margarete Bagshaw and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Join us as Shelby Tisdale, Director of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and Carolyn Kastner, Associate Curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, talk with Margarete Bagshaw and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith about their artistic practice and the importance of mentoring. The conversation is held in conjunction with the exhibitions: Margarete Bagshaw: Breaking the Rules at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture; and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: An American Modernist at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

COST: FREE to Members of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and New Mexico Residents; all others, FREE with Museum admission

LOCATION: Museum of Indian Arts and Culture Auditorium, Museum Hill

RESERVATIONS: No reservation required.

Thursday, March 15, 11AM - 2:30 PM


Saluting Two Remarkable Women Artists: Jaune Quick to See Smith and Margarete Bagshaw

Co-presented by The New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Museum of Indian Art and Culture, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Join us for a unique experience as Margarete and Jaune will each tour their own exhibitions offering insightful commentary. In between tours, everyone will gather with these talented Native American Modernist artists for a luncheon at the Café on Museum Hill.

COST: $50. Reservations required:

LOCATION: To be given upon registration

RESERVATIONS: Tickets at the Lensic; online at or 505.988.1234

Thursday, March 22, 7 PM


Native American Inspirations/ New Composers

Presented in conjunction with the University of New Mexico, 2012 Donald Robb Composer Symposium and the New Mexico State Centennial

This concert features Italian pianist and 2011 recipient of the Abbiati Prize for best soloist of the year, Emanuele Arciuli, known internationally for his performances of Native American and contemporary composers, playing works by Louis W. Ballard (Cherokee, Quapaw), and Raven Chacon (Diné), as well as Peter Garland’s Walk in Beauty. Composer Jerod Impíchchaachaaha’ Tate (Chickasaw) will perform along with a chamber ensemble of New Mexico musicians Dream Worldfor Woodwinds, Percussion and Narrator, his tribute piece to Juane Quick-to-See Smith.

COST: $15: Members and Business Partners, $12

LOCATION: Scottish Rite Center, 463 Paseo de Peralta

RESERVATIONS: or 505.946.1039


The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) and to the study and interpretation of American Modernism (late nineteenth century-present). Located in Santa Fe, NM, the Museum’s collections, exhibits, research center, publications and education programs contribute to scholarly discourse and serve diverse audiences. The largest single repository of the artist’s work in the world, it is the only museum in the world dedicated to an internationally known American woman artist and is the most visited art museum in New Mexico.


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