Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer—the first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work—will chronicle a pivotal moment in Gibson’s career when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage. About 65 objects created from 2011 to the present will be featured including figurative works, text-based wall hangings, a significant selection of beaded punching bags, painted works on rawhide and canvas, and video.
The exhibition will show 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 will 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 videos featuring interviews with the artist 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 will be available in The Shops and online in May 2018. It will be the first to comprehensively detail Gibson’s career and body of work. The exhibition is organized by the DAM and curated by John Lukavic, associate curator of Native Arts.