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Jeffrey Gibson | The Spirits Are Laughing

Jeffrey Gibson’s practice mixes Indigenous aesthetic histories with the visual language of Modernism to explore culture, history, and identity. The artist works with garments, sculpture, performance, video, and painting to consider the complex and fluid narratives surrounding selfhood in this country. Gibson uses his surroundings as sources, mixing references from contemporary politics with pop culture and queer iconography to create unexpected connections within his world.

This exhibition and related performance Jeffrey Gibson: THE SPIRITS ARE LAUGHING evolves out of conversations around Indigenous kinship philosophy—the idea of seeing the land as an extension of one’s own family or oneself, and prioritizes looking at everything in our surroundings as an equal living entity. A member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent, Gibson’s work both acknowledges and embraces these perspectives.

The artist will present an assemblage of anthropomorphized sculptural heads that incorporate stones, fossils, and other natural materials, representative of geologic and natural time on the Aspen Art Museum rooftop. These will be presented in dialogue with a grouping of Gibson’s signature brightly colored flags, each with a different pattern, text, lyric, or slogan. In the galleries, the exhibition will also include a corresponding video filmed on site in Aspen that features a group of 15 flag spinners performing and speaking to the land in multiple outdoor sites throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Performers featured in THE SPIRITS ARE LAUGHING include Danya Ahram, Leo Balcer, Katie Cox, Donna Daugherty, Natalie Harris, Madi Miller, Serenity Monroe, Nazhoné Morgan, Madeline Morales, Emily Nunemaker, Omar Pena, Elijah Sena, Rosie Small Farley, Megan Templeton, and Ryan Vela.