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Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

An American Modernist

Carolyn Kastner

Publication Year: 2013

The first full-length critical analysis of the paintings of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, this book focuses on Smith’s role as a modernist in addition to her status as a wellknown Native American artist. With close readings of Smith’s work, Carolyn Kastner shows how Smith simultaneously contributes to and critiques American art and its history.

Smith has distinguished herself as a modernist both in her pursuit of abstraction and her expressive technique, but too often her identity as a Native American artist has overshadowed these aspects of her work. Addressing specific themes in Smith’s career, Kastner situates Smith within specific historical and cultural moments of American art, comparing her work to the abstractions of Kandinsky and Miró, as well as to the pop art of Rauschenberg and Johns. She discusses Smith’s appropriation of pop culture icons like the Barbie doll, reimagined by the artist as Barbie Plenty Horses. As Kastner considers how Smith constructs each new series of artworks within the artistic, social, and political discourse of its time, she defines her contribution to American modernism and its history. Discussing the ways in which Smith draws upon her cultural heritage—both Native and non-Native—Kastner demonstrates how Smith has expanded the definitions of “American” and “modernist” art.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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pp. 1-6

This book is an invitation into the intensely imaginative world of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, an American artist, curator, and political activist, who was born in 1940 at the Saint Ignatius Mission in Montana and is an enrolled Sqelix’u (Salish) member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes...

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1: Born in the USA

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pp. 7-16

Throughout her career, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith has drawn imagery and color from the natural world and the diverse cultures of North America to express her complex identity as an American artist. Her 1995 collagraph Celebrate 40,000 Years of American Art represents her ancient lineage in a configuration of stylized...

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2: Seeing Red: Indigenous Identity and Artistic Strategy

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pp. 17-26

For Smith the relationship of color and subject matter is diverse and complicated, especially when she is using red pigment. Its meaning is never fixed and oscillates, like its value and saturation, in each work of art. Manipulating red in multiple ways, the artist opens the possibility of complex meanings, which...

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3: American Modernism and the Politics of Landscape

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pp. 27-38

The majority of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s artwork expresses a personal sense of place and connection to the land of North America. Her paintings have been exhibited and collected across the United States and Europe, yet her work has never been critically analyzed within the discourse of the American landscape tradition. This chapter places her artwork within the broader context...

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4: Chief Seattle: Visualizing Environmental Disaster

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pp. 39-50

Landscapes comprise a significant portion of Smith’s artwork. Yet the materials and style of her work often change dramatically from one series to the next. The thread that connects her earliest works to her most recent is her profound commitment to speak to her viewers about the state of the environment. She shares an interest in the discourse of the environment and the dispossession...

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5: The Discourse of Modern Art in a Post-Columbian World

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pp. 51-60

In 1992, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith directed her artwork to an American audience familiar with Columbian celebrations of discovery and conquest in the equally familiar visual language of American popular culture. Her intention, as an educator and political activist, was to complicate that celebration by introducing counternarratives that personalized the devastation of contact...


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pp. 61-76


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pp. 77-82


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pp. 83-84

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826353900
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826353894

Page Count: 120
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 863157580
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

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Subject Headings

  • Modernism (Art) -- United States.
  • Smith, Jaune Quick-to-See, 1940- -- Criticism and interpretation.
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