WASHINGTON, D.C. — Georgetown University’s Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery is proud to inaugurate its annual exhibition cycle with Jeffrey Gibson: DON’T MAKE ME OVER, on view September 27 through November 18.
Gibson — an acclaimed Choctaw-Cherokee artist whose work celebrates Native American culture, queer identities, and Modern aesthetics — will present new work, including 10 paintings on rawhide, an installation, and a performance piece.
“We couldn’t more delighted to welcome Jeffrey Gibson to the Hilltop, especially at this exciting moment of rapidly expanding recognition of his practice,” said Al Miner, Founding Director/Chief Curator and Associate Professor of Art and Art History. “This is the first time an exhibition will focus so heavily on Gibson’s rawhide paintings. This suite of works represents an exciting new direction for him that we are very proud to premiere.”
Based in Hudson, N.Y., Gibson has based his recent work largely on his own experiences and identities, particularly his Native heritage and life as a queer young person in New York. He challenges viewers to “consider what would have been if Native artists were part of the conversations taking place in New York City’s art scene in the 1960s.”
While DON’T MAKE ME OVER echoes themes of Gibson’s prior work, the intimately scaled diptychs on view represent a striking new path in Gibson’s painting oeuvre. For the first time, two irregular halves form a whole with the frame an equal player in the composition. Gibson describes these quirky, asymmetrical works are “queer paintings, not as rooted in gay culture, but full of potential to be the Other.”
The performance art piece and installation included in DON’T MAKE ME OVER incorporate the inspiration for the exhibition’s title, a 1962 Dionne Warwick song — one of many pop songs Gibson identified with while struggling with his own identity as a queer youth. Lyrics decorate a custom-designed fabric room inside which Gibson will give a costumed performance in what he calls “a tribal, clown, powwow, and raver aesthetic.”
“The piece Jeffrey will perform on the exhibition’s opening night will give our audiences an opportunity to see firsthand how the artist’s practice embraces improvisation and serve as a platform for conversations about how multiple selves collide to make each of us unique,” Miner said.
Members of the Georgetown community will have a chance to meet Gibson during an evening opening reception on September 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. The new performance piece will be staged at 6:30 p.m. Gibson will also appear in conversation with Miner and Paul Chaat Smith, Associate Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, at 6 p.m. on September 28.
What: Art Opening and Performance at the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery, Georgetown University
When: Thursday, September 27, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery, 3535 Prospect Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
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