Jeffrey Gibson presents Nothing is Eternal, a newly commissioned video with musical composition. Conceived during this pandemic era, the immersive video work depicts the American flag in unsettling stillness, as a marker of territory, and projected onto bodies, while set to a heartrending soundtrack. At once melancholic and beautiful, Gibson renders the iconic image of the flag as both elastic and unyielding. The slow transformation through time, color, and form reflects both a distillation of our social collapse and the reinvention of self and community, referencing the movement and change that is so desired for this nation.
“Nothing is Eternal tracks my impulses during this time,” says Jeffrey Gibson, who began working on the video at the beginning of the COVID–19 pandemic, amidst global uncertainty; the unjust police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many other Black individuals; and the growing unrest and division in the United States. “My attempts to stabilize myself, to see myself, to see others, to feel, and to try and focus and not lose sight that there is a future on the other side of this particular moment. The challenge is to not hold on too tight, to not retreat into our past habits and comfort zones, and to allow change to happen even if it makes us feel destabilized and uncomfortable. We may be in this space for a while. Please remember Audre Lorde’s words: ‘Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever only, nothing is eternal.’”
Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, Colorado, US) is an interdisciplinary artist and craftsperson based in Hudson Valley, New York. His work references various aesthetic and material histories rooted in Indigenous cultures of the Americas, and in modern and contemporary subcultures. Gibson, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent, is forging a multifarious practice that redresses the exclusion and erasure of Indigenous art traditions from the history of Western art as it explores the complexity and fluidity of identity.
Gibson lives and works in the Hudson Valley, New York. Previous exhibitions include, Jeffrey Gibson, LIKE A HAMMER, organized by the Denver Art Museum, and This Is The Day, organized by The Wellin Museum. Other notable solo exhibitions include: The Anthropophagic Effect (2019) The New Museum, New York; Look How Far We’ve Come! (2017), Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me, (2017), Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City; and A Kind of Confession (2016), Savannah College of Art and Design Museum, Savannah. Gibson is a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Foundation grant.
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. The Wattis is a laboratory for testing the future of contemporary art through temporary exhibitions, public events, and in-depth research. It is part of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Nothing Is Eternal, 2020
Single-channel digital video, sound
18 minutes 15 seconds
Videography: James Siewert, William Singer
Sound Composition: Tristan Shepherd
Recording/Mixing/Additional Instrumentation: Ryan Howe
Percussion: Diamond Anderson
Violin: Francesca Caruso