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


If you didn’t know Jeffrey Gibson before, head to Lincoln’s deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and you’ll never miss him or his work again.

Gibson’s multidisciplinary exhibition, INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE, which opens October 15 in the 30-acre modern museum, takes up space for some of those previously unseen and only now emerging on the fringes of society.

In particular, room for two outlier cultures as Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians who identifies as queer, redefines what was previously completely outlawed – being indigenous and / or queer – in the protective ubiquitous ideals of the infinite, what is godly; and love that is, well, very godly. Therefore the artist brings both under the overarching universal. It’s a big issue. And Gibson is making it big at deCordova.

“We are in the installation phase,” said deCordova’s chief curator, Sarah Montross, at the end of September. The activity came about after a long planning process. “It’s a special time when art comes into space; it’s really a collaboration, a kind of union between the two, ”she added.

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

That is, physically acclimatized so that these precious messages from Gibson’s personal collection of photos, postcards, protest posters, and earlier works are not damaged.

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

“They’re a bulletin board about where he is and how he got there. COVID might have something to do with it, “she added as she took a short break from the treadmill in 2020, a time when many people were taking a closer look at their lives. “He looks back on his career.”

Gibson’s career spanned 20 years, and while it’s still gaining traction, Montross said it was on a crescendo: “He really got there.”

Gibson, born in Colorado in 1972, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and England’s Royal College of Art in London. A contemporary artist rooted in ancestral traditions, Gibson uses traditional fundamentals such as beadwork and geometry, often employing abstraction while enjoying multidisciplinary freedom: his work is clothing; it’s movie; it’s sculpture; it’s painting. His pieces have become famous and have been shown in recent solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, Manhattan’s New Museum, and the Brooklyn Art Museum, and were inducted into the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial in 2019.

The second section is a visually (and emotionally) dazzling spectacle made up of three huge, fringed cubes, each about 12 feet tall.

“Twelve people are working to hang up thousands and thousands of threads; they’ve been tying for a week now, ”said Montross. “I’ve tried it: It sounds simple, but it requires a unique focus and attention to detail.”

Fringe is a familiar medium for Gibson, reminiscent of Native American, Western, and even burlesque styles. Fringe is just a bit sassy and mysterious and moves with great vibrancy.

“Jeffrey has worked with fringes for many years, on both clothing and sculpture and other pieces. This is the first piece to be made entirely out of fringes – and on such a monumental scale.

“I think it will blow people away; it really holds the gallery, ”said Montross enthusiastically. “These monoliths made of huge columns of color simply have a sense of mystery and abstraction.”

The third grouping comprises several current videos that were created in collaboration with various performers, dancers, designers and artists over two or three years.

“Jeffrey’s process is very broad and he brings others to the table, especially indigenous artists or those who identify as queer,” said Montross.

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

Exploring Gibson’s work and themes isn’t limited to inside the deCordova, however. It was no coincidence that deCordova first brought Gibson’s work to Lincoln last spring when his “Because Once You Enter My House, It Becomes Our House” was installed in the outdoor sculpture garden. The piece is a colorful ziggurat mound that references the pre-European invasive earth architecture of the ancient city of Cahokia in Mississippi. This collaborative installation, advocating for indigenous space and culture, was first shown at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City and includes posters created by Gibson and artists Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), Luzene Hill (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and Dana Claxton. were designed together (Hunkpapa Lakota).

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

“It radiates power to the outside,” she says. “His work paves the way for what the future might look like.”

“INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE” opens on October 15 and runs until March 12, 2022. “Because you enter my house once, it becomes our house” can be seen until June 1, 2022. Entrance tickets to the museum and grounds: Adults $ 18; Seniors $ 14; Students $ 12; Trustee members / children free. 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln.

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