What is the role of monuments in our modern society? Who—or what—deserves to be immortalized? Jeffrey Gibson (BFA 1995) is one of the artists examining these questions in MONUMENTS NOW, an ongoing exhibition in Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York.
Gibson’s “electrifying” contribution, a piece titled Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House (2020), was recently profiled in the New York Times. An homage to Indigenous peoples and culture, the three-tiered ziggurat is papered with wheat-paste posters adorned with activist slogans such as “Powerful because we are different” and “The future is present.” Gibson further animated the structure by curating live performances from Indigenous artists on and around it.
At 21 feet high, the Times calls it “the most monumental structure in the show so far”—but it’s not just the enormity of the piece that leaves a lasting impression. “[Gibson] draws on the past to outline the possibilities of a more just future. There are no heroes in MONUMENTS NOW. . . Instead, there’s a celebration of communities and the knowledge they hold within them.”