(b. 1972, Colorado Springs; living and working in Germantown, NY)
Jeffrey Gibson combines the artistic traditions of his Cherokee and Choctaw heritage with the visual languages of Modernism and references to contemporary popular and queer culture. His work is a vibrant call for queer and Indigenous empowerment, envisioning a celebration of strength and joy within these communities while advocating for environmental sustainability.
Recent exhibitions featuring Gibson’s work include Jeffrey Gibson: THE SPIRITS ARE LAUGHING (Aspen Art Museum, 2022–23), Jeffrey Gibson: They Come from Fire (Portland Art Museum, 2022–23), and THIS BURNING WORLD (Institution of Contemporary Art, San Francisco, 2022–23). Gibson received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995), an MA from the Royal College of Art (1998), and an honorary doctorate from Claremont Graduate University (2016). He is represented in the permanent collections of museums including the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Portland Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. He has been distinguished with awards and recognitions including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2019), the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award (2012), and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Contemporary Arts Grant (2011).
WORK IN THE EXHIBITION
Jeffrey Gibson’s oeuvre explores contemporary popular and queer culture through the combined lenses of Modernist abstraction and Native American visual languages, drawing on his Cherokee and Choctaw heritage. While many of his lyrically-focused works engage with hit dance tracks of the 1980s and ՚90s, his painted canvas work I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN features lyrics from the eponymous Cole Porter track, which has since become a jazz standard and the basis for new interpretations, including the 1990 remix by Neneh Cherry. The lyrics are painted on top of geometric patterns and woven into the piece’s wooden frame using glass beads and artificial sinew. This interplay of indigenous crafting techniques and lyricism complicates the distinction between image and text. He transforms the language of song into a visual experience, exposing a spectrum of emotions and experiences. Drawing upon familiar lyrics, Gibson creates a space for viewers to sit within and interpret what musical influences might linger under their skin.