A major exhibition of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s diverse art will be on view in Billings at the Yellowstone Art Museum through July 16, and will travel to Missoula and Colorado Springs, Colo.

The exhibition, "Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors," opens Thursday, March 22, with an evening reception at the YAM.

Quick-to-See Smith is one of the country's finest indigenous talents. This exhibition will be the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in her native state of Montana in a generation.

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. Few Native artists have worked with such grace, inventiveness, and aesthetic success between cultures and art worlds.

Smith has an international reputation with a strong, clear body of work. She has earned her standing among women artists and Native artists while simultaneously aligning these often still-marginalized groups more closely with the mainstream art world.

The YAM’s 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 — giving her work an attention-getting vitality, originality and relevance.

Smith's 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 and has exhibited internationally and in dozens more group exhibitions worldwide.

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In addition to holdings in museums in Montana at the Yellowstone Art Museum and Missoula Art Museum, her work is held in the permanent collections of such notable institutions as the Albuquerque Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Smith has four honorary doctorates 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.

"Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors" is part of the Yellowstone Art Museum’s multi-year Montana Masters exhibition series.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with contributions by notable essayists Lowery Stokes Sims and Gail Tremblay. The exhibition includes 44 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s collection, the Yellowstone Art Museum’s permanent collection, and other private collectors.

Both the exhibition and catalog 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.

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Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.