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Jeffrey Gibson Like a Hammer by John P. Lukavic, Glenn Adamson, et al


Recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Genius Grant, artist Jeffrey Gibson is both a rising star and an instrumental figure in contemporary art. Just 2 years after entering the PMA’s permanent collection, his People Like Us (2018) represents a signature piece for the museum. The title of a 2019 exhibition, curated by the Denver Art Museum in collaboration with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Like a Hammer surveys Gibson’s work from 2008 through 2018. The title hints at the visceral presence of Gibson’s figures, and yet the longer we engage with his sculptures, the more we recognize them as abstract constellations that are pregnant with contemporary and indigenous allusions to song, dance, dress, and fine art. As Gibson framed it in his 2019 Nelson Social Justice Lecture, these references register “personally, poetically, and politically,” and invite us to form our own associations.