Curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby, curator of Native American Art at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and independent curator Abigail Winograd, Gibson’s pavilion will be titled “the space in which to place me,” after a poem by Layli Long Soldier, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. The show will explore the notion of individual and collective identity through new and recent works including sculpture, paintings, multimedia works, and a site-specific installation in the pavilion’s courtyard. The pavilion, which is commissioned by Ash-Milby, Winograd, and SITE Santa Fe executive director Louis Grachos, will be Gibson’s first major exhibition outside the US.
“Throughout his career, Jeffrey has challenged us to look at the world differently through his innovative and vibrant work,” said Ash-Milby in a statement. “His inclusive and collaborative approach is a powerful commentary on the influence and persistence of Native American cultures within the United States and globally, making him the ideal representative for the United States at this moment.” Ash-Milby, who is a member of the Navajo Nation, is the first Indigenous person to co-curate and co-commission the Biennale’s US Pavilion.
The fifty-one-year-old Gibson, who lives and works in Germantown, New York, following a peripatetic youth, has seen his star rise precipitously in the past decade, beginning with his solo exhibition “Love Song” at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston in 2013, through his much-lauded contribution to the 2019 Whitney Biennale. Gibson’s work was this past May acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and he is currently an artist in residence at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where his work is on view in the college’s Hessel Museum of Art.