Jeffrey Gibson was the featured artist for the New York Times Square’s Midnight Moment from March 1 – July 31, 2020. The Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57 to midnight.
A multi-channel video created specifically for the screens of Times Square, She Never Dances Alone (2019) is Jeffrey Gibson’s celebration of the Indigenous matriarchy, centering on the jingle dress dance, a powwow dance that originated with the Ojibewea tribe and is traditionally performed by women to call upon ancestors for strength, healing, and protection. As Sarah Ortegon, an acclaimed jingle dress dancer and Miss Native American USA 2013–14, performs in handmade dresses adorned with jingles or rows of ziibaaska’iganan (metal cones), the swaying colors, textures, and patterns pop against a black background and fold into kaleidoscopic abstractions. Ortegon’s image multiplies within each screen and across the plazas, creating the impression that many women have come together to dance over Times Square. The video ends with a close-up of Ortegon’s face after she has stopped dancing, calming her breath as she stares intently ahead — and at the people watching from below. She Never Dances Alone appeared on the screens of Times Square as the Midnight Moment from March through July 2020, playing each night from 11:57pm to midnight.
On March 7, 2020, jingle dress dancer Sarah Ortegon and song carrier Joan Henry gave free, public performances leading into the Midnight Moment. (Presented by Times Square Arts, The Armory Show, Kavi Gupta, and Roberts Projects.)
View Jeffrey Gibson’s She Never Dances Alone on YouTube by clicking the embedded video to the left, then view the second video below, by Tatyana Tenenbaum, to hear brief comments from Jeffrey Gibson and audience members to the March 7, 2020 event.