Jeffrey Gibson: THIS BURNING WORLD is a site-specific commission that marks the beginning of the institutional memory of the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco. Rather than featuring studio-made objects, the exhibition will comprise of multiple elements that together reveal the formidable practice of this singular voice: an architectural intervention within the confines of the ICA SF, an immersive projection installation, commissioned partnership and performance activations, and a comprehensive vinyl-wrap on the building’s facade.
The exhibition speaks to the urgency and importance of our collective relationship to the planet. It places the earth under the ICA SF building in dialogue with video of the natural world beyond these walls. This installation is a reminder to the hidden land, “This is where you come from! Aren’t you incredible!” The openings in the floor are an opportunity for the earth to breathe and serve as a portal for us to speak, give thanks, and apologize to the land for our treatment of “them.” The hundreds of videos, shot mostly in the Hudson Valley, capture the seasonal and evolving natural environments where I live and work. Joan Henry speaks and sings to the earth, the trees, the water, the mountains, the animals, the sun and the moon. Indigenous kinship philosophies have provided the conceptual and philosophical framework for this installation. These perspectives acknowledge the elements of our natural environments as our equal ancestors, living relatives, and as extensions of our own minds and bodies. When we damage or treat the land without regard for its own sustainable well-being, we are in turn hurting and damaging ourselves and disregarding our own well-being, safety, and health. – Jeffrey Gibson
Jeffrey Gibson: THIS BURNING WORLD is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco and curated by Alison Gass, Krieger Family Director.
Jeffrey Gibson’s multimedia practice synthesizes the cultural and artistic traditions of his Cherokee and Choctaw heritage with the visual languages of Modernism and themes from 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.
Gibson’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR; among many others. Gibson is a recipient of numerous awards, notably a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2019); Joan Mitchell Foundation, Painters and Sculptors Award (2015); and Creative Capital Foundation Grant (2005).
Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, Colorado Springs, CO) grew up in major urban centers in the United States, Germany, Korea, and England. He is a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee.
The Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco (ICA SF), is a brand new, free, non-collecting contemporary art museum dedicated to experimenting in public, operating transparently, and embracing constant reinvention in the realm of contemporary art. As a new institution, the ICA SF has the unusual opportunity to start from scratch and thus aims to lead right out of the gate with some necessary art world values: prioritizing individuals over institutions, and modeling equity and expansion in the artistic canon.
Learning from the process of the year of starting up, the ICA SF will be a museum that’s continuously “under construction,” retaining the requisite nimbleness that comes from that condition. Through exhibitions, programming, and social opportunities, the ICA SF seeks to broaden the possibilities for civic and creative engagement within the region's vibrant ecosystem and to enable artists to push boundaries, experiment with new ideas, and take risks.