Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer—the first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work—chronicles a pivotal moment in Gibson’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, catalog, and related programming, visitors will be able to 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 catalog is available in The Shops and online. It is the first to comprehensively detail Gibson’s career and body of work. The exhibition is organized by the DAM and curated by John Lukavic, curator of Native arts.
Following its run at the DAM, this exhibition will travel to the Mississippi Museum of Art (September 8, 2018–January 20, 2019), the Seattle Art Museum (February 28–May 12, 2019), and to its final destination at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (June 7–September 14, 2019).