Sweet Bitter Love: An Initiative of Toward Common Cause presents Jeffrey Gibson’s reflections on representations of Indigenous people in cultural institutions. Responding to a series of 19th-century portraits by Eldridge Ayer Burbank, Gibson (a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent) refutes the stereotypical imagery that, for centuries, has helped create and reinforce pernicious myths about Indigenous people.
As they enter into critical dialogue with the collections of the Newberry Library and the Field Museum, Gibson’s works deconstruct these narratives while attesting to Native resilience.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Newberry Library. It is an initiative of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, which is organized by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with exhibition, programmatic, and research partners across Chicago. Toward Common Cause is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and curated by Abigail Winograd, MacArthur Fellows Program Fortieth Anniversary Exhibition Curator, Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago.