Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer
‘Like a Hammer’ is the first major museum exhibition of Jeffrey Gibson’s work, chronicling a pivotal moment in the artist’s career when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage. About 57 objects created from 2011 to the present are featured including wall hangings, beaded punching bags, painted works on rawhide and canvas, and video.
The exhibition shows how Gibson draws upon his heritage and remixes his older works to create a visual vocabulary that explores his multi-faceted identity and the history of modernism. Gibson’s abstract works take inspiration from his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, pan-Native American visual culture, alternative subcultures, and the artist’s experiences living abroad as well as popular culture. Striking patterned and textured works incorporate text from poems, Gibson’s own voice, and song lyrics such as Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke.
Gibson frequently explores colonialism and the post-colonial mindset, reflecting on how American Indian experiences parallel other civil-rights movements. His work also revolves around universal themes of love, community, strength, vulnerability, and survival. Through this exhibition, catalogue, and related programming, visitors can gain an enhanced understanding of Gibson’s distinctive and complex creative practice, as well as how it has evolved from series to series.
The exhibition is organised by Denver Art Museum and curated by John Lukavic, curator of Native arts. The exhibition travels from Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado (13 May – 12 August 2018) to Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi (8 September 2018 – 20 January 2019); Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington (28 February – 12 May 2019), and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, Wisconsin (7 June – 14 September 2019).