Jeffrey Gibson, Choctaw / Cherokee / American, born 1972



Driftwood, hardware, recycled wool army blanket, canvas, glass beads, artist's owned re-purposed painting, artificial sinew, metal jingles, metal studs, nylon fringe, nylon ric rac, high fire glazed ceramic

Overall: 92 1/2 × 39 × 64 in. (235 × 99.1 × 162.6 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe Fund, the Acquisition and Preservation of Native American Art Fund, the Contemporary Art Fund, the William S. Rubin Fund, and the Anonymous Fund #144

© Jeffrey Gibson



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area

Native American: Southeast


On view


Jeffrey Gibson’s What Do You Want? When Do You Want It? gives us a globalized problematic "messy" modern figure, a joyous dancer clothed with powwow fringe, trade blankets, and jingles, unburdened by any one tribal, gendered, or sexualized heritage or history, complicated and enhanced by the many possibilities for being, for identity, for an individualized authenticity.

The way we describe identity here is so reductive. . . . It never bleeds into seeing you as a more multifaceted person. . . . I’m finally at the point where I can feel comfortable being your introduction to American Indian culture. . . . It’s just a huge acceptance of self. . . . Once I thought of myself as the center, the world opened up. —Jeffrey Gibson

From the 2019 exhibition Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, guest curated by Rayna Green


Jeffrey Gibson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the complexity and fluidity of identity and critiques the exclusion and erasure of Indigenous artistic traditions from the history of Western art. This large, looming figure was constructed from driftwood and draped in a canvas the artist painted and then washed at a laundromat in a moment of frustration with its two-dimensionality. Gibson adorned the washed canvas with fringe, metal studs, beads, and jingles. Unburdened by any one tribal, gendered, or sexual identity, this being speaks to the complexities of the past, present, and future of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

From the 2023 exhibition Gather, Move, Resonate: Nick Cave & Jeffrey Gibson, curated by Alisa Swindell, Associate Curator of Photography, Jami C. Powell, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs & Curator of Indigenous Art, and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

NAS 30.18, Indians Who Rock the World: Native American Contemporary Music, Davina Two Bears, Spring 2019

ANTH 3, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Spring 2019

SART 23, Figure Sculpture, Leslie Fry, Spring 2019

WGSS 10.01, Sex, Gender and Society, Douglas Moody, Winter 2021

NAS 30.24/MUS 3.06, Sound Relations: Indigenous Musical Perspectives, Sunaina Kale, Spring 2022

WGSS 16.01, Contemporary Issues in Feminism, Mingwei Huang, Spring 2021

Exhibition History

Convene: Jeffrey Gibson - Hilary Harnischfeger - Joel Otterson - Lisa Sanditz, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas, March 15, 2016 – May 22, 2016

Gather, Move, Resonate: Nick Cave and Jeffrey Gibson, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 18, 2023-December 1, 2024

Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City, OK, Feburary 9 – June 11, 2017

Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 23, 2020.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 217, ill. plate no. 148.


Marc Straus Gallery, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2017.

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