Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day is a vibrant, celebratory exhibition in which the artist brings together his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage and a range of diverse artistic and cultural influences to explore race, sexuality, religion, and gender. More than 50 works made between 2014 and 2018 include intricately beaded wall hangings and punching bags, paintings, ceramics, garments, helmets, and a new video commissioned for the exhibition, I Was Here (2018). The film follows Macy, a trans-Choctaw woman living on a reservation in rural Mississippi, melding documentary and fantastical elements in a way that harkens back to independent films from the 1980s and 90s such as “Bagdad Cafe” (1987) and “My Own Private Idaho” (1991).
In his work, Gibson (b. 1972; based in Claverack, New York) often joins exuberant colors, patterns, and materials with text borrowed from such authors as James Baldwin and Simone de Beauvoir or song lyrics by Grace Jones, Boy George, and other musicians. These combinations highlight the unexpected connections between ceremonies and performances found in Native American powwow rituals, dance clubs, and drag shows, underscoring the complex vitality of Gibson’s eclectic sources.
This exhibition will be on view in our Butler Gallery, located on the ground floor of the museum.