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Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks

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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.

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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. Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks is organized by Jeffrey Gibson and Christian Ayne Crouch, Curatorial Advisor, with Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, and Erika Umali, Assistant Curator of Collections, with support from Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas, and Molly Seegers, Museum Archivist, Brooklyn Museum. Major support for this exhibition is provided by the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation. Generous support is provided by the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund, the Brooklyn Museum’s Contemporary Art Committee, the Embrey Family Foundation, the FUNd, Kavi Gupta, Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Additional support is provided by Rona and Jeffrey Citrin, Christy and Bill Gautreaux, Raymond Learsy, Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.

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In fact, Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks pairs recent works by the artist, including two large-scale murals created specifically for this exhibition, with collection objects such as moccasins, headdresses, ceramics, and beadwork, as well as rarely exhibited materials drawn from the Museum’s Archives and Library Special Collections. The exhibition provides a contemporary mirror through which to reconsider Native American culture and identity.

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