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Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer

June 8, 2019 – September 15, 2019

Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Band Choctaw/Cherokee), Like A Hammer, 2014. Elk hide, glass beads, artificial sinew, wool blanket, metal studs, steel, found pinewood block, and fur; 56 × 24 × 11 in. Collection of Tracy Richelle High and Roman Johnson, courtesy of Marc Straus Gallery, New York. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Gibson Studio and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photograph by Peter Mauney.


MMoCA is pleased to announce the 2019 presentation of artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first major museum exhibition. Organized by the Denver Art Museum (DAM)Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer will showcase the artist’s highly acclaimed multi-disciplinary work and will chronicle a pivotal moment in the artist’s career when his contemporary artistic practice converged with his Native American heritage. The exhibition features about 65 objects comprising large and mid-sized figurative works, text-based wall hangings, a significant selection of his illustrious Everlast beaded punching bags, painted works on rawhide and canvas, as well as videos.

Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer will reveal how the artist draws upon his heritage and remixes his older works to create a distinct visual vocabulary in artworks that explore his multi-faceted identity and the history of modernism. Gibson’s abstract works take inspiration from his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, pan-Native American visual culture, alternative subcultures and the artist’s experiences living abroad as well as popular culture. Materials used in the works on view will include rawhide, tipi poles, sterling silver, wool blankets, metal cones, beads, fringe and sinew. Exploration of materials and striking patterned and textured works in the form of punching bags and wall hangings will incorporate text from poems, Gibson’s own voice and popular song lyrics such as Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”

Through videos featuring interviews with the artist and related programming, visitors will be able to gain an enhanced understanding of Gibson’s distinctive and complex creative practice, as well as how it has evolved from series to series.


Programming & Events

Exhibition Celebration | Opening Reception
Friday, June 7, 2019 • 6–9 PM


Press Coverage

Like A Hammer: MMoCA brings a new, traveling exhibit by queer indigenous artist Jeffrey Gibson to their galleries as part of an effort to create spaces of empowerment.
Our Lives

Upcoming MMoCA show a ‘mash-up’ of tradition and identity
Wisconsin State Journal

Destruction and reconstruction: Jeffrey Gibson explores complex identity in MMoCA exhibit

MMoCA Hosts Queer Native Artist Jeffrey Gibson’s “Like a Hammer”

First Nations Artist Showcased and Teaching at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
University of Wisconsin–Madison Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Generous funding for MMoCA’s presentation of Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer has been provided by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation; The DeAtley Family Foundation; The David and Paula Kraemer Fund; Mary Ellyn and Joe Sensenbrenner; Ellen Rosner and Paul J. Reckwerdt; Gina and Michael Carter; maiahaus; Betty Jane Perego Fund at the Madison Community Foundation; National Guardian Life Insurance Company; Sara Guyer and Scott Straus; Mark and Judy Bednar; Dan and Natalie Erdman; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.