For Immediate Release
Artist Jeffrey Gibson presents a screening series of collaborations with Indigenous creatives for his monument project at Socrates Sculpture Park
LEFT: Laura Ortman’s violin performance atop Jeffrey Gibson’s installation ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House;’ Photo by KMDeco Creative Solutions: Mark DiConzo. RIGHT: Emily Johnson’s site-specific dance work in collaboration with Gibson; Photo by Scott Lynch. Images Courtesy the Artists, Socrates Sculpture Park, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.
New York City, January 8, 2021 – Socrates Sculpture Park and artist Jeffrey Gibson will present world-premiere performance videos from Indigenous artists Laura Ortman, Emily Johnson, and Raven Chacon. The performances were produced as part of Gibson’s monument project ‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House,’ on view as part of the ‘MONUMENTS NOW‘ exhibition at Socrates through March 2021.
‘Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House’ is a massive kaleidoscopically-patterned ziggurat honoring Queer and Indigenous peoples. “The monument is meant to highlight multiple aspects of Indigenous creativity in an effort to decentralize singular representations that monuments historically celebrate,” said Gibson. “I knew immediately that I wanted to work with Laura, Emily, and Raven on programming,” he continued. “They are all established artists in their own right, and I have so much respect for how they each use process-based work to extend cultural philosophies in new ways.”
Acclaimed violinist Laura Ortman drew inspiration from Socrates’ location on the East River as well as the historic Cahokia mounds, which Gibson modeled his monument after, for an improvised performance atop the ziggurat. “Laura’s music places me presently in a specific location by waking up my senses,” described Gibson. “It’s like watching a meteor shower move through the galaxy, but hearing it instead of seeing it.” Ortman, who is White Mountain Apache, has performed internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and Centre Pompidou. Her piece at Socrates – and a powerful Land Acknowledgment by the Indigenous Kinship Collective – were captured in a high-production value documentary film premiering online February 3, 2021 at 6PM eastern time via bit.ly/OrtmanPremiere. View the trailer below.
Bessie Award-winning choreographer Emily Johnson collaborated with Gibson to create the new original dance work ‘The Ways We Love and The Ways We Love Better – Monumental Movement Toward Being Future Being(s).’ ‘The Ways We Love…’ utilized storytelling, invocation, and movement to illuminate Indigenous presence and the histories held in the Park. Performers wore garments and masks designed by Gibson who said: “Emily’s performance is fully sensory storytelling that connected her ancestral background to her experience arriving at and living in New York City.” Johnson, who is of the Yup’ik Nation, has performed and presented work internationally, including at the Santa Fe Opera, New York Live Arts, MASS MoCA, and ArtsHouse/Yirramboi Festival. The documentary film of her performance will premiere online February 17, 2021 at 6PM eastern time via bit.ly/JohnsonPremiere. View the trailer below.
Composer, performer, and installation artist Raven Chacon will premiere his collaboration with Gibson at Socrates via live-stream on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 (Rain Date: March 24), time to be announced. Watch on Zoom: bit.ly/ChaconPerformance. Or watch on Facebook Live: facebook.com/SocratesSculpturePark. “Raven’s sound pieces make me think about the landscape, as if the voice of the land is being channeled through his electronic gear and he is the medium,” said Gibson. Chacon, who is Diné, has exhibited or performed at venues including the Whitney Biennial and Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, and received honors like the United States Artists Fellowship in Music and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition. His performance at the Park with Gibson will also be documented in a high-production-value film to be released online in 2021.
The series of performance video premieres will be accompanied by two virtual live-stream conversations. The first conversation will be with Gibson and Socrates’ Curator & Director of Exhibitions Jess Wilcox on January 20, 2021 at 6PM eastern time. Register to watch on Zoom: bit.ly/GibsonWilcox. Or RSVP to watch on Facebook: fb.me/e/5SRuULmx1. Then on March 3, 2021 at 6PM eastern time, Gibson will meet virtually with his collaborators Ortman, Johnson, and Chacon for a conversation about the performance series moderated by Socrates’ Curatorial Assistant danilo machado. Register to watch on Zoom: bit.ly/GibsonCollaborators. Or RSVP to watch on Facebook: fb.me/e/c6GmBqFO7.
“‘The Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House’ monument served as a stage for these artists,” said Gibson. “Their performances are the beginnings of how this monument will come to be defined. My intention is to continue to invite Indigenous artists to collaborate and contribute to the life and meaning of the monument.” More information and event schedule available at socratessculpturepark.org/gibson-screening-series.
Support & Thank You
The Jeffrey Gibson Screening Series was made possible by generous support from VIA Art Fund; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; Sikkema Jenkins, New York; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles. The performance documentaries were filmed and edited by Cut/Cut/Cut: Chelsea Knight & Itziar Barrio, with additional drone footage by Mark DiConzo: KMDECO Creative Solutions LLC & Angelo Soriano: R3D SHIFTERS. Audio recording and sound mixing by Tristan Sheperd.
About Jeffrey Gibson
Jeffrey Gibson is an interdisciplinary artist based in Hudson, New York. Gibson, who is Choctaw-Cherokee, makes reference to various aesthetic and material histories rooted in Indigenous cultures of the Americas throughout his work. He is a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”.
About the Park
For over 30 years, Socrates Sculpture Park has been a model of public art production, community activism, and socially inspired place-making. Over 1,000 artists have created and exhibited new works on its five waterfront acres and outdoor studio facilities. Socrates is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 9am to sunset. It is located at 32-01 Vernon Boulevard (at Broadway) in Long Island City, New York. Socrates Sculpture Park is a not-for-profit organization licensed by NYC Parks to manage and program Socrates Sculpture Park, a New York City public park. Covid-19 Updates: Socrates remains open to the public at regular hours, 9am – sunset, with free admission. Park policies and updates regarding health and safety can be found at socratessculpturepark.org/Covid19.