Jeffrey Gibson, an artist of Choctaw and Cherokee descent, incorporates elements of Native American art and craft into his practice, creating a rich visual and conceptual dialogue between his work and the histories that inform it. In Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks, he selected objects from our collection, which are presented alongside his recent work. The resulting multimedia, floor-to-ceiling installation questions long-held institutional categorizations and representations of Indigenous peoples and Native American art. It also provides a context for Gibson’s work and acts as a contemporary lens through which to see historical works by both Indigenous and non-Native peoples.
Gibson’s works on view include garments, beaded punching bags, paintings on hide and canvas, and ceramic vessels. Collection objects include moccasins, headdresses, ceramics, rawhide, and examples of beadwork and appliqué. The exhibition also features rarely exhibited materials from our Archives and Library Special Collections that shed light on the formation of our Native American collection in the early twentieth century by curator Stewart Culin.