Curator‘s Comments

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a Native American artist and activist, painted The Red Mean: Self-Portrait in 1992 as a critical response to the quincentenary of Columbus’s arrival in North America. It combines the visual language of Native American traditions with twentieth-century European and American collage and “drip” painting. The outlined figure is a tracing of the artist’s body. It recalls Native American pictographs as well as Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. However, instead of Leonardo’s male figure as the measure of proportion, the artist substitutes her own form, enclosed in a medicine wheel. Quick-to-See Smith employs both social commentary and wry humor in the placement of clippings from her tribal newspaper, The Char-Koosta News, on specific parts of the figure, such as “made in the USA” across the chest.

The Red Mean: Self-Portrait

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. American, Born 1940

The Red Mean: Self-Portrait, 1992

Acrylic, newspaper collage, shellac and mixed media on canvas

Part gift from Janet Wright Ketcham, class of 1953, and part purchase with the Janet Wright Ketcham, class of 1953, Fund

ID Number: SC 1993:10a, b