LINCOLN, MASS.- deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
announces the exhibition Jeffrey Gibson: INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE, on view through March 12, 2022.
This exhibition concerns the intersections of four powerful wordsINFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE. The two outer terms suggest boundless spaces and generative, tender relationships. The two interior terms convey markers of identity that Jeffrey Gibson disassembles and reconstructs through his artistic practice as a queer Choctaw-Cherokee man. Altogether this title offers a bold, declarative framework for this exhibition which debuts a series of collages, an immersive display featuring three hanging fringe sculptures, and recent videos created with collaborators, musicians, and performers. Shown together, these dazzling artistic expressions suggest that identity is pieced together by public life, popular culture, and intimate human bonds.
deCordova Senior Curator Sarah Montross said, We are deeply grateful to work with Jeffrey Gibson on this exhibition that pushes his syncretic approach to contemporary Indigenous culture and artistry in new directions. Among many highlights, this show debuts a group of expressive collages that reveal how Gibsons historic consciousness shapes his contemporary focus on resilience and self-empowerment for himself and others. A spectacular group of monumental fringe sculptures designed in radiant colors will transform deCordovas largest gallery into a darkened immersive space of color and texture unlike any before shown in this space.
The fringe, typically a feature of Indigenous dance regalia, becomes vivid, hanging monolithic forms that dominate the gallery and pose an exploration into queer abstraction, a merging of hard-edge shapes and soft, craft-based materiality.
INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE marks a new chapter in my overall artistic practice. I have spent nearly 20 years developing a visual language and use of materials that can encompass the thoughts and feelings that I have surrounding my specific identity as well as issues of identity in general, Gibson said. This exhibition is one that borrows and samples from this personal history to create new forms that look toward the future with hopes of establishing a different conversation regarding what indigeneity could look like.
This exhibition complements Gibsons large-scale outdoor installation Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House, on view on the front lawn of deCordovas Sculpture Park.
Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House is an homage to pre Columbian architecture, a corrective to nostalgic views of Indigeneity, and celebration of queer camp aesthetics. The tri-layer ziggurat structure draws inspiration from the earthen architecture of the ancient Mississippian city of Cahokia, which flourished in the seventh through fourteenth centuries, prior to European contact.
Bringing together references to powwow gatherings and club culture, Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House is adorned with wheat-pasted posters with vibrant abstract patterns that include words and slogans advocating for Indigenous land and culture. Originally commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, deCordovas presentation of Gibsons installation includes new posters co-created by Gibson and artists Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), and Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota).
Jeffrey Gibsons vibrantly patterned work refers to his Indigenous heritage as well as his queer identity, and the aesthetics and biases associated with those identity markers. 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 (b. 1972) earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. His celebrated work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; the New Museum, New York, and Brooklyn Art Museum, Brooklyn, NY. His work was also included in the 2019 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. A 2019 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.