Mississippi Museum of Art Announces New Exhibition – Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer

Jeffrey Gibson. AMERICAN HISTORY (JB), 2015.

Pubished July 14, 2018

September 8, 2018 ‒ January 27, 2019

Jeffrey Gibson, Head On, 2013.

JACKSON, Miss. — 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.

Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee.
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.
“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.”

Jeffrey Gibson. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, 2015

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.”

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