Presented by Daniel H. Usner, PhD

To what extent is Jeffrey Gibson’s work seen in The Body Electric influenced by aesthetic styles and historical subjects rooted in Native American expressive culture? To what extent might Gibson also be mobilizing his individual aesthetic voice against how Indigenous art has been treated by the art world? Is he perhaps reclaiming its Indigenous place within the wider history of American art?

Historian Daniel Usner will consider these and other questions as he explores how Jeffrey Gibson’s multimedia art—particularly his use of materials, motifs, and patterns—represents a breakdown of multiple barriers that have been imposed upon Indigenous art by the Western art establishment for centuries.

About Daniel H. Usner

Daniel H. Usner, Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, has devoted a decade of research to learning how Native American women a century ago mobilized art on behalf of the sovereignty and territory of their people. He is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy (1992), American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories (1998), Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in American Indian History (2009), Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South (2015), and American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (2018). Later this year, his Native American Women and the Burdens of Southern History will be released by Louisiana State University Press.

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