Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer
May 13—August 12, 2018; Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Jeffrey Gibson’s beaded punching bags are emblazoned with statements such as “OUR FREEDOM IS WORTH MORE THAN OUR PAIN”; the materials and messages reflect both strength and rage. Drawing on his subculture experiences of the 1980s and ’90s, the Choctaw and Cherokee artist subverts expectations for what Native American art should be, particularly in an art world still rooted in colonialism. This exhibition, his first major museum show, covers a relatively brief yet vibrant period starting in 2011, from his abstract paintings on rawhide to sculptural figures decked out in beads, jingles, and a rainbow of fibers that look like Afrofuture kachina dolls.