National Portrait Gallery Presents “IDENTIFY” With Jeffrey Gibson

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery presents a new work by multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson for the latest iteration of “IDENTIFY,” the performance-art program created by the museum to recognize individuals who are missing from its historical collections. “To Name An Other” will explore the relationship between injustice, marginalization and identity and will feature 50 volunteer performers who self-identify as people of color, LGBTQ, Indigenous or Native American. The performance will draw on the traditions of drumming to bring awareness to current sociopolitical issues. “To Name An Other” will be the artist’s largest performance to date and will travel to the Calgary/Esker Foundation, Fluid Fest and the New Museum in New York City in spring 2019. The premiere will take place in the Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard Wednesday, May 22, at 5 p.m.

“We are delighted to celebrate the 10th commission of the Portrait Gallery’s ‘IDENTIFY’ series,” said Dorothy Moss, director of “IDENTIFY” and curator of painting and sculpture. “Jeffrey Gibson’s ‘To Name An Other’ will highlight actions or events that Gibson has found inspirational and courageous in the recent and current political climate with volunteers who belong to underrepresented groups. Through procession, handmade garments and the sound of drums, the performance will acknowledge Gibson’s Indigenous roots and will cast a light on stories of resilience.” 

Born in Colorado, Gibson is a nationally recognized multimedia artist. As a half-Cherokee member of The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the artist often channels his Native background to bring historically excluded themes and people to the forefront. Gibson is currently the New Museum’s spring 2019 Department of Education and Public Engagement Artist-in-Residence and will participate in this year’s Whitney Biennial.

Premiered in 2015, the “IDENTIFY” series focuses attention on activism, visibility and experimentation through portrayal. Gibson joins previous “IDENTIFY” artists María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Sandy Huckleberry, James Luna, J.J. McCracken, Martha McDonald, Lee Mingwei, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Sheldon Scott and Wilmer Wilson IV. Support for the “IDENTIFY” series has been provided by an anonymous donor and The Skanby + Gould Foundation.    

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: Follow the museum on social media at @NPGFacebookYouTubeInstagramand Tumblr.

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