A group of colorful, abstract, geometric paintings in an art gallery.

Past Exhibition

Leon Polk Smith: Hiding in Plain Sight

Leon Polk Smith, one of the most significant American artists of the 20th century, has been studied and celebrated through major exhibitions, publications, and scholarship over many years—and yet, a significant source of inspiration and influence on his artistic production remains largely unexplored.

This original exhibition takes visitors on a visual journey that starts in Oklahoma Territory, where Smith was born and raised surrounded by Indigenous people and culture, to New York City where he would become a founding icon of mid-century modern art.

Photo: Leon Polk Smith in his studio at Union Square, New York, n.d. Photograph courtesy of the Leon Polk Smith Foundation.

Curated by Joe Baker (Delaware) and Diana Pardue, Hiding in Plain Sight pairs outstanding examples of late 19th and early 20th century works of Indigenous art from Oklahoma Territory, including beadwork, hide painting, and ribbon applique, with Smith’s paintings. Featuring more than 40 works spanning seven decades of his legendary career, highlights include masterworks from his Constellation series. In the words of Leon Polk Smith, “I grew up in the Southwest, where the colors in nature were pure and rampant, and where my Indian neighbors and relatives used color to vibrate and shock.”

Gallery Views

  • A room with black and white drawings on the wall.
  • A black and white photo on a wall in an art gallery.
  • A group of colorful paintings with geometric shapes in an art gallery.

Our sponsors

  • Lead Support

    Logo for the Henry Luce Foundation.
    The logo for the Thoma Foundation.
    Logo for the Leon Polk Smith Foundation.
  • Major supporters

    Virginia M. Ullman Foundation
  • Supporters

    The A P S logo.
    The SRP logo on a white background.
  • Additional Supporters

    Robert Lehman Foundation logo.
    Logo for the Arts and Culture, City of Phoenix.
  • And the Patrons and supporters of

    Donors to the Grand Gallery Exhibition Fund