Newly Commissioned Percent-for-Art Project


Year: 2020

Medium: Acrylic on canvas, glass beads, and artificial sinew inset into wood frame;

Dimensions: 82 x 74 inches (208 x 188 cm), with frame (approximate)

Location: Vassar Street Residence Hall (W46)

Credit: Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds


Jeffrey Gibson, I DON’T WANT TO SEE MYSELF WITHOUT YOU, digital rendering, 2020Jeffrey Gibson, I DON’T WANT TO SEE MYSELF WITHOUT YOU, 2020. Digital rendering of work in progress.

For MIT’s newest undergraduate dormitory Jeffrey Gibson was commissioned to create I DON’T WANT TO SEE MYSELF WITHOUT YOU (2020), a site specific percent-for-art work that will welcome students and visitors with a dizzying and almost holographic painting that spells out the work’s title in hard-edge graphic letters. Surrounding this text, a dense patterning extends from the painting to its beaded frame, and adds to the work’s visual impact. In his multimedia paintings, quilts, sculptural objects, or garments, Jeffrey Gibson often engages geometric abstraction and its place in various art traditions, while also calling upon the practices and materials found in indigenous handcraft. Gibson’s works bear even more wide-ranging references too, often touching on music or politics, or embracing a camp sensibility associated with queer nightlight subculture or the fluidity of gender. I DON’T WANT TO SEE MYSELF WITHOUT YOU (2020) is emblematic of the works in which he appropriates phrases from lyrics found in pop, soul, or disco music, citing George Michael, Depeche Mode, Grace Jones, or, here, the folk-soul singer Terry Callier.

Jeffrey Gibson was selected for the Percent-for-Art commission in consultation with Naomi Carton, Dennis Colins, David Friedrich, Steven Hall, Sonia A. Richards, Michael Maltzan, Varin Ang, TJ Fanning, and in dialogue with the New Vassar Founders’ Group.

I DON’T WANT TO SEE MYSELF WITHOUT YOU was commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds.

Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972, Colorado Springs, CO; lives and works in New York) earned his MA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1998 and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995. Gibson is represented in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Canada, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and more. Gibson is on the Faculty at Bard College, and is a past TED Foundation Fellow, a Joan Mitchell Grant recipient, and a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient. Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent.

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