Jeffrey Gibson to Represent Next Year’s US Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Jeffrey Gibson, artist. Photo by: Brian Barlow.

The art world stage opens next year with the trailblazing artist Jeffrey Gibson representing the United States at La Biennale di Venezia. Gibson's selection marks an unprecedented moment, as he becomes the very first Indigenous artist to take up the mantle of solo representation for the U.S. Inviting the public to deeply reflect on identity through a combination of mediums, including paintings, sculpture, and site-specific installations, Gibson's work will spread across the pavilion's interior and exterior space leading into the courtyard at the Giardini della Biennale.

Known for his brightly colored works, Gibson melds Native art heritage with the visual elements of modernism, delving into the intersection of individual identity, cultural legacy, historical context, and global societal stories. A member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and Cherokee descent, his work looks into how representation could change the perception of indigenous culture.

"Throughout his career, Jeffrey has challenged us to look at the world differently through his innovative and vibrant work," said Ash Milby. "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."

Jeffrey Gibson, The Spirits Are Laughing, 2022. Performance. Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Gibson

Supported by Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art at the Portland Art Museum and a member of the Navajo Nation, Louis Grachos, Phillips Executive Director of SITE Santa Fe, and Abigail Winograd, an independent curator, the exhibition features new and recent work and is co-curated by Ash-Milby and Winograd. With this remarkable support, the production anticipates becoming one of the greatest since 1932, recalling when the U.S. Pavilion in Venice proudly hosted an assemblage of American painters, many of whom hailed from the rugged expanses of the American West. Notably, a Native American Gallery formed an integral part of this exhibition, a rustic tribute to the artistic heritage of the Southwest – predominantly crafted by unnamed Navajo and Pueblo artisans – alongside the masterful paintings of artists like Ma Pe Wi, Oqwa Pi, Tonita Peña, Awa Tsireh, Julian Martinez, Tse Ye Mu, Otis Polelonema, and Fred Kabotie.

With Gibson's boundless realms of creativity set against the backdrop of La Biennale di Venezia's 60th anniversary next year, this representation sets the perfect tone to reflect on U.S. heritage and align with the biennale's theme of "Foreigners Everywhere."

Dates to see the biennale are between 20 April to 24 November 2024.