Akeroyd Collection


Theaster Gates

b. 1973, Chicago, U.S; lives and works in Chicago, U.S.

Theaster Gates is an artist, social innovator and urban planner whose work translates the intricacies of Blackness through space theory and land development, sculpture, and performance. His performance practice and visual work find roots in Black knowledge, objects, history, and archives. Gates is known for his innovative practice and has been additionally celebrated for his socially engaged projects that reclaim neglected urban spaces on the South Side of Chicago and demonstrate the vibrant cultural life that inhabits objects and spaces that others have discarded. He has transformed abandoned buildings into artistic, cultural, and entrepreneurial hubs, creating spaces for artistic production, creative leadership, mentorship and education, and community development. His work often incorporates materials salvaged from these spaces, highlighting values of objecthood, preservation, and the transformative power of art. He specifically seeks out materials that have a historic and iconic significance in order to repurpose them through his own artistic lens and within the context of contemporary art historical tropes. Gates's projects have garnered international recognition for their scale, ambition, and impact on local communities and their critical exploration of issues of race, class, and inequality. Through the expansiveness of his approach as a thinker, maker, and builder, he extends the role of the artist as an agent of change.

Theaster Gates's recent exhibitions include Afro-Mingei, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2022); Young Lords and Their Traces, New Museum, New York (2022); Black Chapel, Serpentine Pavilion, London (2022); Theaster Gates: Public Notice, Frederick Kiesler Foundation, Vienna, (2022); Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2022); The Listening House, Aichi Triennale, Tokoname City, Japan (2022); A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson (2022); Theaster Gates: A Clay Sermon, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2021); Theaster Gates: Slight Intervention #5, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2021); Bad Neon, TANK Shanghai (2021); China Cabinet, Prada Rhong Zhai, Shanghai (2021); Black Image Corporation, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta (2020); Amalgam, Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); Black Madonna, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019); Amalgam, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); The Black Image Corporation, Fondazione Prada, Milan (2018); Black Madonna, Kunstmuseum Basel (2018); Black Madonna, Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2018); The Minor Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2017); How to Build a House Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016); True Value, Fondazione Prada, Milan (2016); Black Archive, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016); 13th Ballad, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2013); My Labor is My Protest, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Theaster Gates: The Listening Room, Seattle Art Museum, Washington, DC (2011); An Epitaph for Civil Rights, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011); To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave, the Slave Potter, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin (2010); and Dry Bones and Other Parables From the North, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2010).

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