Jeffrey Gibson’s ‘INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE’ opens at deCordova


If you didn’t know Jeffrey Gibson before, visit the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln and you are sure to never neglect him and his work again.

Opening Oct. 15 at the 30-acre Modern Museum, Gibson’s boldly titled multidisciplinary exhibit, “INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE,” claims a place for some of those who were previously invisible and are only now appearing on the fringes. of the society.

In particular, the space for two aberrant cultures, like Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Band who identifies as queer, reframe what was previously totally ostracized – being indigenous and / or queer – into protective ideals. ubiquitous from infinity. , who is pious; and love, which is, well, very godly. Therefore, the artist brings the two together under the global universal. It’s a big theme. And Gibson is going big with deCordova.

“We are in the installation phase,” said deCordova’s senior curator Sarah Montross at the end of September. The activity came after a one-year planning process. “It is a privileged moment when art enters space; it’s really a collaboration, a kind of union between the two, ”she added.

The exhibition is divided into three thematic groups, Montross explained: “One is a collection of new collages on paper that Jeffrey recently completed in his studio in Hudson, New York. They arrived today and will be acclimatized prior to installation.

That is, physically acclimatized lest those precious missives made from Gibson’s personal collection of photos, postcards, protest posters, and past artwork be damaged.

Acrylic on canvas, glass beads and artificial tendon inlaid in a wooden frame.  63 7/8 × 35 1/2 in.  Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins and Co.

“They are a bulletin board showing where he is and how he got there. COVID may have had something to do with it, ”she added of the momentary 2020 treadmill hiatus, a time when many people took a closer look at their lives. “He looks back on his career.

Gibson’s career spans more than 20 years, which while gaining momentum, said Montross is at a crescendo: “It really has happened.

Gibson, born in 1972 in Colorado, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Royal College of Art of England in London. As a contemporary artist rooted in ancestral traditions, Gibson uses traditional foundations such as beading and geometry, often applying abstraction, and while embracing multidisciplinary freedom: his work is clothing; it is cinema; it is sculpture; it is paint. And his pieces gained notoriety for being featured in recent solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, the New Museum in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Art Museum, and were included in the Whitney Biennial of American Art in 2019.

The second section is a visually (and emotionally) imposing spectacle featuring three giant fringed cubes, each about 12 feet tall.

“Twelve people work to hang thousands and thousands of threads; they’ve been tied for a week now, ”Montross said. “I tried it: it sounds simple but it requires a singular focus and attention to detail.”

Fringe is a familiar medium for Gibson, reminiscent of Native American, Western and even burlesque style. The bangs are just a little bit cheeky and mysterious, and they move with a lot of vibrancy.

“Jeffrey has been working with bangs for many years, both on clothes, on sculptures and on other pieces. This is the first piece made entirely from fringes – and on such a monumental scale.

“I think it’s going to knock people out; he really runs the gallery, ”said Montross enthusiastically. “These monoliths of giant colored columns, they just have a sense of mystery and the abstract.”

The third grouping includes several recent videos produced over two or three years in collaboration with various performers, dancers, designers and artists.

“Jeffrey’s process is very broad and he also brings other people to the table, especially Indigenous artists or those who identify as gay,” Montross said.

She Never Dances Alone, 2019. Multimedia video with sound, 2:51 minutes.  © Jeffrey Gibson and courtesy of Kavi Gupta Gallery.

However, the exploration of Gibson’s work and its themes is not limited to the interior of the deCordova. It is no small coincidence that deCordova first showcased Gibson’s work in Lincoln last spring, when its “Because once you walk into my house, it becomes our home” was installed. in the outdoor sculpture garden. The piece is a colorful ziggurat mound referencing the pre-European earthen architecture of the ancient Mississippi city of Cahokia. First shown at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City, this collaborative installation advocating Indigenous space and culture features posters co-created by Gibson and artists Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota).

Montross calls the personal and social activism in Gibson’s work an “amplification of identities.”

“It radiates power outward,” she said. “His work is paving the way for what the future might look like. “

“INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE” opens October 15 and ends March 12, 2022. “Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House” is on view until June 1, 2022. Museum and grounds tickets : adults $ 18; seniors $ 14; students $ 12; Trustee members / children free. 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln.

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