Jeffrey Gibson, Firelei Báez, and Jean-Ulrick Désert in Conversation

Jeffrey Gibson, Firelei Báez, and Jean-Ulrick Désert in conversation with Sara Reisman

Friday, September 18, 2015
6 to 8pm

Jeffrey Gibson,  White Power , 2014

Jeffrey Gibson, White Power, 2014

The artists deconstructed Native American and Afro-Caribbean cultural heritage, symbolism, and histories of displacement resulting from colonial rule.

Báez and Gibson present critique of hegemonic and unfair legislation affecting everyday life in colonial America and the Caribbean while Désert considers the conflation of tribal identity with super fandom in European sports culture.


Firelei Báez was born in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic to Dominican and Haitian parents and lives and works in New York. She has participated in residencies at The Headlands, Fine Arts Work Center, Lower East Side Print Shop, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace program. Báez's work has been written about in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesArt in AmericaNew American Paintings, and The Huffington Post, amongst other notable publicationsShe is a recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award as well as the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Award in Painting. Her work has been exhibited at The New Museum, The Pérez Art Museum Miami, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Báez's first solo museum exhibitions will be on view in the fall of 2015 at both the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City.

Jean-Ulrick Désert is a conceptual and visual artist born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Désert's practice incorporates a range of styles and media including public billboards, actions, paintings, site-specific sculptures, video, and objects, emerging from a tradition of conceptual work that is also engaged with social/cultural practices.  He is well known for his Negerhosen2000 project, his provocative Burqa Project and his poetic Goddess Projects. He has said his practice may be characterized as visualizing "conspicuous invisibility," a concept visible in his The Passion, currently on view at The 8th Floor's exhibit Between History and the Body, which foreground the menacing presence and erasure of corporate hooliganism. His work has been widely featured in international institutions including The Brooklyn Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN, the Grand Palais in Paris, France, and The Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst in Berlin, Germany.  Participation in international biennials include the 2014 Dakar Bienniale and Martinique's 1st International Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2013.  He is the recipient of awards, public commissions, and other honors from institutions such as Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Villa Waldberta-Munich, Kulturstiftung der Länder in Berlin, and the Cité International des Arts in Paris. He has been both a lecturer and invited critic at numerous universities including Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Humboldt University in Berlin and École supérieure des beaux arts, Paris. Désert established his Berlin studio-practice in 2002.  For more information, please visit

Jeffrey Gibson is a painter, sculptor, and installation artist living in upstate New York. He received an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Gibson's paintings and sculptures draw from a broad range of cultural references including traditional and modern Native American materials and processes, iconic modern artworks, popular music, fashion, and design and will be the focus of a traveling survey exhibition originating at The Denver Art Museum in 2017. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including Said the Pigeon to the Squirrel (2013), National Academy Museum, New York; Love Song (2013), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Tipi Poles Performing as Lines (2013), Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, FL. In addition, he has been featured in many international group exhibitions, most recently the Prospect 3 Biennial (2015)New Orleans; Affinity Atlas (2015), The Tang Museum at Skidmore College; An Evening Redness in the West (2015), Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe; Outside the Lines (2014), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (2013), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, among others. His work can be found in many public collections including The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA;  the Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, OK; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN; the Denver Art Museum; and The Nerman Museum, Overland Park, Kansas. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, ArtNews, The Financial Times, Art Limited,and OUT Magazine. He has held visiting artist and teaching positions at Cornell University, California College of the Arts, Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, Claremont Graduate University, and Cooper Union School of Art, among others. He has been awarded grants from Art Matters, The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Creative Capital, The Harpo Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, and in 2012, he was named a TED Foundation Fellow. Gibson is currently a Visiting Artist in the Studio Arts Department at Bard College.