Writing Off the Walls 2022

Creativity in the age of CoVID

Brought to you by Studio Theater in Exile & Hudson Valley MOCA

Great White Hide - MP Nolan

Based on Jeffrey Gibson’s Painting, Someone Great is Gone, 2013

No machinery can or will rescue

any of us from the law of being.

For centuries we have pretended that

by echoing those grey wings on the wind

grinding the black earth into our palms, and

dipping blue confections to our pink tongues,

we are truly living.

But, by proclaiming that

there can only be one of anything,

we are gradually tearing at the

seams of a sheath, well worn.

It would do us well to remember that

while the fringes may be tattered and torn

the main core is always serviceable.

Because while all our ancestors loom large

in the shadows of grief

Brown, Yellow, Red…

We must remember that

someone great was and is ever-present—

In the untouched landscape

In the interior web of oneness

In the infinite expanse beyond that

disposable jacket—

that great white hide.

No Darkness-for John Lewis - Rachel Berghash

Based on Jeffrey Gibson’s Painting, Someone Great is Gone, 2013

Wearing a black coat, head bare,

his face set against armed strongmen,

he stands close to his brothers

and sisters, his gaze harbors a wilderness,

a deep resolve to share in the scattering

light of this dark dark world.

Then:

His skull, fractured.

Body, bloodied.

His life is light.

From a psalm dancing hills emerge

the sea splits, and in the path between

the walls of water freedom sings.

His soul grows “deep like the rivers.”

There is no darkness in it.

Mother Hubbard - Donna Barkman

Based on Jeffrey Gibson’s Painting, Someone Great is Gone, 2013

She wore aprons similar to this

      in colors and shape

they were called Mother Hubbard

did any of them last through the six

       children she didn’t truly want

before birth control or abortion

        except DIY

the coverings practical, related

         to her own but not

indigenous cultures

         while we stripped her to her hide

a great woman long gone

Feel free to navigate through the tabs to hear the recordings/poems of Great White Hide, No Darkness - for John Lewis, and Mother Hubbard. All of these recordings/poems are based on Jeffrey Gibson’s painting, Someone Great is Gone, 2013.

Someone Great is Gone, 2013
Someone Great is Gone, 2013

Jeffrey Gibson

American, born 1972

Someone Great is Gone, 2013
Elk hide, acrylic, paint, graphite, colored pencil

73 x 66 inches

Jeffrey Gibson’s multimedia practice synthesizes the cultural and artistic traditions of his Cherokee and Choctaw heritage with the visual languages of Modernism and themes from contemporary popular and queer culture. His work is a vibrant call for queer and Indigenous empowerment, envisioning a celebration of strength and joy within these communities.

Jeffrey Gibson grew up in major urban centers in the United States, Germany, Korea, and England. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995 and Master of Arts in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1998. He is a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Bard College and lives and works near Hudson, New York.

Gibson’s artworks are in the permanent collections of many major art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Canada, the Nasher, the Nerman, Crystal Bridges, and the Denver Art Museum. Recent exhibitions include SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah and Atlanta), National Academy Museum in New York, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Cornell Museum of Fine Art, Denver Art Museum and Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art.  He has participated in Greater New York, Prospect New Orleans, the Everson Biennale, and Site Santa Fe. Gibson is a member of the faculty at Bard College and a past TED Foundation Fellow and Joan Mitchell Grant recipient.  He was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. In 2019 he received a MacArthur Foundation genius award.

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Studio Theater in Exile

“Theatre takes place all the time wherever one is, and art simply facilitates persuading us this is the case”

- John Cage