Artist Audio: Jeffrey Gibson

Artist Audio & Transcription: Jeffrey Gibson

Transcription of Artist Audio: Jeffrey Gibson

JEFFREY GIBSON: I’m Jeffrey Gibson, and my day job was being an activities manager at IKEA in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Well I think that, you know, I don’t disassociate retail environments from art. The thing that’s interesting about retail is retail cannot transform a customer. Retail speaks to the core of who the customer is. It’s too expensive and too much work to try to change the mind with someone who’s coming in, looking for something. So, the way that it really operates is it has to appeal to what is already happening. Does that make sense?

VERONICA ROBERTS, curator of Day Jobs: Yes.

JEFFREY GIBSON: And so, there are certain things that I feel, like color and even just kind of how color and walls and light kind of move us through a space. We could talk about it certainly in very high art terms, you know, artistic terms. We could term it architectural, environmental, installation. We could probably have that same conversation and talk about retail and floor plan layout. And like, where do we need to put the plants? Where are people going to stop and look at the rugs? Where are they going to be able to throw them out? Or maybe we should have them next to the coffee tables so people could put the coffee table on top. So those conversations to me—I don’t really have a separate perspective on how I think about space. That’s not necessarily high/low to me. I’m more interested in how the environment feels and how that feeling kind of directs us to some degree, or at least presents us with maybe some choices, like some coherent choices.

And I think for the most part with exhibitions and color, it’s interesting to me. I mean, I’m not even necessarily critical of the white box space. I actually like the white box space for lots of things, because it gives you a clarity to be able to just focus on something. But I also am somebody who just inherently—I will overhang a show. I have no problem putting things right up next to each other. I like things when they cross sight lines. And I think that it’s a way for viewers to think about more than one thing, you know, and the connection between those two things. So, I think there’s always a conversation happening between things in a space. And that’s something that I always think about. One of the questions that comes up oftentimes when I’m working with curators is like, “Is it one piece or two pieces?” “Do you want people to see this as one piece?” And I’m like, “No, they’re two works, but they’re relative to each other.” And I think it makes it more experiential if you put them in a way where a viewer kind of has to see them together.

Jeffrey Gibson, People Like Us, 2018, custom-printed polyester satin and neoprene, cotton, silk Ikat velvet, wool, and repurposed quilt, tapestry, and vestment, with glass, plastic, and stone beads, nickel and brass studs, brass grommets, cultured pearls, nylon ribbon, and artificial sinew on tipi poles, 85 × 74 × 5 in., Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of the Meinig Family Foundation and the Alturas Foundation, 2019.143 Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photo: Peter Mauney

Artist Bio

Jeffrey Gibson is a Chocktaw-Cherokee multimedia artist who lives and works in New York, NY. His varied practice draws on pop culture, musical lyrics and performance, personal identity, and historical narratives. Gibson’s work frequently takes the form of large-scale beaded paintings and punching bags, monumental installation, or wearable, ceremonial garments. 

Jeffrey Gibson has exhibited widely, including major solo shows at the Brooklyn Art Museum, Times Square Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the New Museum, and our own Blanton Museum of Art. He has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. In 2019, Gibson was named a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow. You can find Jeffrey Gibson at jeffreygibson.net and @jeffrune on Instagram. 

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

A man with wearing a denim shirt and a hat stands behind a table with printed fabric on top. Behind him are long white curtains on a rail
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