Choctaw Artist Hears A Different Drum

“New York-based artist Jeffrey Gibson twists expectations of Native American art and culture in his exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art during the Prospect.3 international art festival. As the P.3 website explains, A member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Gibson has long confronted Native American stereotypes, which manifest in mass-produced ‘Indian’ fabrics and crafts.” D MacCash, NOLA.

Discussion Questions for this post

Jeffrey Gibson art exhibit.

Jeffrey Gibson art exhibit. Light tube in a leather quiver.

Excerpt: Prospect.3 artist Jeffrey Gibson tosses away Native American cliches at NOMA — By Doug MacCash, NOLA

“To combat the pervasive perceptions, Gibson exploits “native” craft cliches for their ironic value. In his spare assemblages, he presents woven rugs, spirit dolls, gourd masks and other presumably authentic objects.

Jeffrey Gibson art. Indian rug work.

Jeffrey Gibson art.

But in each case he does something to undermine the predicted meaning, pointing out the challenge of melding tradition and contemporary life in the process. In his most powerful sculpture, Gibson uses colorful beadwork to poignantly adorn an Everlast punching bag that hangs in the museum stairwell.

Jeffrey Gibson's Everlast Punching Bag.

Jeffrey Gibson’s Everlast Punching Bag.

In another striking piece, he sardonically displays a pink fluorescent light tube in a leather quiver. In still another, he exhibits a Southwestern-style rug with a pattern that could have been produced by Paul Klee. 

The exhibits are on view Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., through Jan. 25, 2015. The exhibit will be closed Nov. 27-28, Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1, 2015. University venues will have longer holiday hiatuses.”

Visit the Prospect.3 website

“My influences and inspiration come from many different sources. I truly love art and taking part in larger conversations about visual culture…I look at what people have made in the past and think about why they made the choices they did, and then look at contemporary culture and consider what I want to make.” ~Jeffrey Gibson~

Discussion Questions for this post
  1. Jeffrey Gibson is a member of what tribe?
  2. What is NOMA?
  3. Why is Jeffrey Gibson’s art described as ironic Native American craft?
  4. In which state does Jeffrey Gibson live?
  5. Which piece of art is described as Gibson’s most powerful sculpture? Why?