Jeffrey Gibson: Because Once you Enter My House, It Becomes Our House
Monumental sculpture ‘Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House’, by Jeffrey Gibson borrows its title from ‘Can You Feel It’ by Mr. Fingers (Larry Heard), a song the artist associates with nightclubs that have provided haven and community especially for LGBTQ+ people and BIPOC. Standing over 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall at the entrance to deCordova’s Sculpture Park, this installation expands Gibson’s bold aesthetics and collaborative process to a monumental scale.
The ziggurat form references the earthen architecture of the ancient Mississippian city of Cahokia, which flourished in the seventh through fourteenth centuries, well before European contact. The installation features phrases advocating for Indigenous space and culture and wheat-pasted posters co-created by Gibson and artists Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), and Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota).
Jeffrey Gibson’s vibrantly patterned work addresses his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage as well as his queer identity, and the aesthetics and biases associated with those identity markers. He works across painting, sculpture, video, performance, and installation art. He draws on Indigenous process and materials, and queer histories that use camp aesthetics as a critical strategy to deny any romanticizing of Indigenous cultures. By exaggerating these aesthetics Gibson forges conversations that transcend binary thinking. Merging styles and historical references, Gibson states, “I have continued to think about my practice as encompassing the past and present while considering the future.”
Gibson invited Dana Claxton and fellow Indigenous artists to perform and create new artwork on and around this installation. Riege and Hill staged performances on and around the installation, additionally he invited Claxton to adapt one of her photographs, titled ‘Lasso’, to a monumental scale as a billboard. This project was originally commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City in association with VIA Art Fund, USA.