Leon Polk Smith, one of the great 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.
Leon Polk Smith: Hiding in Plain Sight takes visitors on the journey of how a young Smith, influenced by Native American culture in his youth in the Oklahoma Territory, became one of America’s most accomplished painters and a founding icon of midcentury modern art and design. Featuring more than 80 works of art, Hiding in Plain Sight will showcase Smith’s work, including his acclaimed Constellation series, paired with American Indian works of art including beadwork, ribbon work and dance regalia. 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.”
Leon Polk Smith: Hiding in Plain Sight is on view February 4 to May 31, 2021 in the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Grand Gallery.