Jeffrey Gibson Will Bring Sculptures of Ancestral Spirits to Met Facade

Last summer, Jeffrey Gibson received an honor that most artists wait for their entire lives. Would he represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, the art world’s version of the Olympics? Only a few weeks after accepting, there was another auspicious ring on the telephone.

It was the curator David Breslin, wondering if Gibson would become the sixth artist to alter the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s facade with newly commissioned sculptures.

“He called me from the beach,” recalled Gibson, a Choctaw-Cherokee artist known for infusing abstract works with queer and native themes.

For the commission, Gibson will return to the ancestral spirit figures he started assembling in 2015. The challenge will be translating these delicate structures of beadwork, textiles and paint into four weatherproof sculptures that will gaze upon museum visitors from their plinths above Fifth Avenue. They will be on view from September 2025 through May 2026.

Breslin, who leads the Met’s modern and contemporary art department, described Gibson as “one of the most incredible artists of his generation.”

Gibson’s 2015 sculpture, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” an ancestral spirit figure made from glazed ceramic and repurposed tipi pole, artificial sinew and copper jingles. Gibson will explore his Indigenous heritage, abstraction and popular cultures on the Met facade.Credit…Jeffrey Gibson

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