Jackson, Mississippi – The Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) announces that it will present Jeffrey Gibson: Like A Hammer, the first major survey of work by contemporary artist Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972), from September 8, 2018 through January 27, 2019, in its Gertrude C. Ford Galleries for the Permanent Collection. Organized by and currently on view at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), Like A Hammer showcases Gibson’s acclaimed multi-disciplinary work from 2011 to the present. The exhibition is being presented with generous support from the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation.

Like A Hammer features approximately 65 objects, including large and mid-sized figurative works, text-based wall hangings, a significant selection of his signature Everlast beaded punching bags, painted works on rawhide and canvas, and videos. Chronicling a pivotal moment in the artist’s career, when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage, the exhibition displays Gibson’s “unique ability to incorporate Indigenous aesthetics with non-Native influences to create something new, without losing touch with the past,” wrote John P. Lukavic, DAM’s associate curator of Native Arts, in the DAM-produced companion exhibition catalog. Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee.

“Like A Hammer features works from one of the most important periods of my career so far,” said Gibson. “The exhibition begins with artworks that I made just after nearly giving up making art altogether due to feeling misunderstood as an artist and struggling to establish a personal language that describes my experience without compromising it. The objects, sculptures, and paintings I’ve made since 2011 document this journey of establishing my own forward-looking voice influenced by all that has come before me.”

The exhibition explores universal themes of race, power, control, stereotypes, and colonialism, as well as love, community, strength, vulnerability, and survival through works created from an assortment of materials—from rawhide, tipi poles, sterling silver, wool blankets, metal cones, beads, fringe, and sinew to punching bags, ironing boards, and looking glasses—and the incorporation of language drawn from popular song lyrics, poems, and the artist’s own writings.

“The Museum aims to present exhibitions that resonate on many levels for many different viewers, and Jeffrey Gibson: Like A Hammer does just that,” says Betsy Bradley, Director of the Mississippi Museum of Art. “Gibson’s inventive multimedia practice engages a past rooted in Mississippi experience, just as it proposes exciting visions for evolving contemporary American identities. The Museum is honored to be a part of the artist’s Mississippi homecoming and excited for the conversations his work will inspire.”

Gibson is making a new video artwork this summer as part of an artist-in-residence program organized and supported by the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE). It documents a group of Mississippians of diverse backgrounds participating in multiple workshops that encourage self-care and self-expression in the LGBTQ+ community. The workshops include meditation, voice lessons, movement, creative writing, and storytelling to enable each participant to develop a character based in fact and/or fiction. These characters will perform in a cabaret-style show, resulting in a video artwork that will be shown at the Museum during the presentation of the exhibition.

“This CAPE residency with Jeffrey Gibson speaks to the importance of process: the process of making art, of discovering oneself, and of understanding the way another person sees the world,” said Julian Rankin, Managing Director of CAPE. “We hope that the final artwork from this process will illustrate that complicated narratives and multifaceted identities can coexist in collaboration and create new visions for the future that include all people.”

Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jeffrey Gibson grew up in major urban centers in the United States, Germany, Korea, England, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and half Cherokee. This unique combination of global cultural influences converge in his multi-disciplinary practice of more than a decade, since the completion of his Master of Arts degree in painting at The Royal College of Art, London, in 1998, and his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in 1995.

Gibson’s artworks are in the permanent collections of many major art museums, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Denver Art Museum; Mississippi Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Nasher Museum of Art; National Gallery of Canada; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art; and Smithsonian Institution. Recent solo exhibitions include Cornell Fine Arts Museum; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; National Academy Museum, New York; and SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah and Atlanta). He participated in MoMA PS1’s exhibition Greater New York (October 11, 2015–March 7, 2016); Prospect New Orleans (2015), the Everson Museum of Art Biennale, (2016) and SITE Santa Fe (2016). Gibson is a member of the faculty at Bard College; a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant recipient, and a past participant in the TED Fellows Program.

More information: www.msmuseumart.org

Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band Choctaw/ Cherokee), AMERICAN HISTORY (JB), 2015. Wool, steel studs, glass beads, artificial sinew, metal jingles, acrylic yarn, nylon fringe, and canvas; 89 × 66 × 5 in. Lent by the Lewis Family. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Gibson Studio and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photograph by Peter Mauney.