The brightly colored patchwork textile—inspired by powwow garments, the artist’s grandmothers’ quilts, Native American cultural traditions, and other sources—both hides and reveals text from a Janis Joplin song: Try (Just a Little Bit Harder). It is a proposition, or maybe a command.
Jeffrey Gibson is half Choctaw and half Cherokee, grew up in Germany, Korea, and the United States, and studied art in the United Kingdom. He culls inspiration from an endless well of multicultural sources, personal, popular, and political, historical and contemporary. In material choices like rawhide, thimbles, and his own shirts, he examines complicated questions of self and identity and challenges existing notions of what it means to be “traditional.”
From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)