If pressed to describe Theaster Gates’ work in one word, it would be “transformative.” In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates—an artist, musician, and “cultural planner,” as well as director of arts program development for the University of Chicago—transforms spaces, relationships, traditions and perceptions.
Exploring architecture as a tool for mediation and meditation, Gates draws from both urbanism and art to provide what he terms “moments of interstitial beauty” in Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. His most recent project, Temple, comprises two neighboring houses which interiors he completely rebuilt of donated and repurposed materials to create spaces for workshops, exhibitions, and other public events on topics of race, art, and politics.
Gates’ work is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the African American Art Alliance. In 2010 alone, he has performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show in New York, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Brunno David Gallery and Pulitzer Museum of Art in St. Louis, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. He also completed residencies with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR; and Artadia, New York. He is a 2010-11 Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Learn more about Theaster at www.theastergates.com.