Review: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith at the Whitney Museum
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map
Apr 19–Aug 13, 2023
Whitney Museum, New York
“Whether art becomes politically relevant or indifferent... depends on the extent to which art's constructions and montages are at the same time de-montages, i.e. dismantlements that appropriate elements of reality by destroying them, thus freely shaping them into something else... Art that succeeds in doing this has a prerogative: it may dismiss the question posed by political practitioners as to what it is up to and what its 'message' is.” Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
Back then I was hanging with my Black friends and mentors in the Movement, and one of them was carrying on about how tough it is to be Black in a White world, when another friend piped up, “I know what you mean, I’m part Black myself.”
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is not part anything herself, in fact she’s got impeccable Tribal yichus. “Citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation:” it’s in the signage for her retrospective at the Whitney Museum. Also: Métis and Shoshone, Cree perhaps. Don’t try pulling an Elizabeth Warren.
She’s neither half-this or half-that, but the art is. At best it comes across as pleasant mid-sixties formalism: