Jeffrey Gibson, Visual Artist | 2019 MacArthur Fellow

Jeffrey Gibson, Visual Artist | 2019 MacArthur Fellow


I work with painting, sculpture, video, and
performance and I combine queer histories, Native American, and popular
subcultures, and I merge them all together to make a new language that
describes the world that I live in today. My name is Jeffrey Gibson and I’m an
artist. I grew up moving around quite a bit due
to my father’s job working with the Army as a civil engineer. We lived in Germany,
and Korea, and the East Coast where there were no other Choctaw people, there were no other Cherokee people, and oftentimes no other Native people. When I first made the decision that I wanted to have a career as an artist, the first
thing I wanted to accomplish was to force Native American aesthetic
histories into the conversation with other aesthetic histories globally. When
I put my work together, because I use a lot of text, I do use that text sometimes
to address specific audiences. Generally it’s available to everybody to interpret
and to be subjective with, but I do sometimes choose to speak specifically
to other native indigenous people. When I showed the first punching bag it was 2012 and I was shocked to see how much viewers really connected with what the
punching bag represented. People have told me many stories about things that
they have been challenged by, things that they’ve overcome, relationships and power imbalances within those relationships. So the fight, I think, and learning how to
maybe even fight ethically, fairly, using materials that may not be our fists
or may not be guns, but maybe it’s more thought in words has been what’s really
like pushed the series to continue. I had never imagined that my practice would
have unfolded in the way that it has. I wouldn’t have thought that I would be
making text-based work. I’ve allowed my practice to unfold very naturally, very
organically, and I’m open to wherever it kind of leads and opens up to. I think of
the contemporary art world as a big experiment. I don’t think we know what
will stick for another, let’s say 30 to 50 years, we’ll be able to look back in retrospect and determine whether something really contributed to a larger
conversation. I hope that I’ve made work that will. That’s what I’ve worked really
hard for; is to hopefully expand the conversation to be more inclusive, and to
include people like myself, but also people completely unlike myself as well.

local_offerevent_note October 11, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


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