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Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, 2014 (still) Video, color, sound, 6 min. 31 sec.© Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley

Theaster Gates, Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, 2014 (still)

Video, color, sound, 6 min. 31 sec.
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley

Theaster Gates, 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, 2012 Installation view, Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, 2012© Theaster Gates. Photo: Nils Klinger

Theaster Gates, 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, 2012

Installation view, Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, 2012
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Nils Klinger

Theaster Gates, Rickshaw for Black Bricks, 2013 © Theaster Gates. Images: Marc Tatti

Theaster Gates, Rickshaw for Black Bricks, 2013

© Theaster Gates. Images: Marc Tatti

Theaster Gates, The George Black House, 2016 Installation view, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2016© Theaster Gates. Image: Ian LeFebvre.

Theaster Gates, The George Black House, 2016

Installation view, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2016
© Theaster Gates. Image: Ian LeFebvre.

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Black Archive, KUB Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, April 23–June 26, 2016 Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Markus Tretter © Kunsthaus Bregenz

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Black Archive, KUB Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, April 23–June 26, 2016

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Markus Tretter © Kunsthaus Bregenz

Theaster Gates, True Value, 2016 (detail) Installation view, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2016© Theaster Gates. Photo: © Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio, courtesy Fondazione Prada

Theaster Gates, True Value, 2016 (detail)

Installation view, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2016
© Theaster Gates. Photo: © Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio, courtesy Fondazione Prada

Theaster Gates, Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017 Brick, granite, Cor-Ten steel, concrete, and statue of St. Laurence covered with roofing membrane, 280 × 192 inches (711.2 × 487.7 cm), permanently installed in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden© Theaster Gates Photo: Gene Pittman, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Theaster Gates, Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017

Brick, granite, Cor-Ten steel, concrete, and statue of St. Laurence covered with roofing membrane, 280 × 192 inches (711.2 × 487.7 cm), permanently installed in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
© Theaster Gates Photo: Gene Pittman, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Theaster Gates, A Flag for the Least of Them, 2018 Decommissioned fire hose, 59 ⅞ × 84 ⅝ inches (152 × 215 cm)© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, A Flag for the Least of Them, 2018

Decommissioned fire hose, 59 ⅞ × 84 ⅝ inches (152 × 215 cm)
© Theaster Gates

Installation view, The Black Image Corporation, Fondazione Prada, Milano Osservatorio, Milan, September 20, 2018–January 14, 2019 Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada, Milan

Installation view, The Black Image Corporation, Fondazione Prada, Milano Osservatorio, Milan, September 20, 2018–January 14, 2019

Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada, Milan

Theaster Gates, So Bitter, This Curse of Darkness, 2019 Installation view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019© Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

Theaster Gates, So Bitter, This Curse of Darkness, 2019

Installation view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Amalgam, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, February 20–May 12, 2019 Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Amalgam, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, February 20–May 12, 2019

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020 Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Bobby Rogers, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Bobby Rogers, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020 Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Bobby Rogers, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Bobby Rogers, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

About

My body is capital, my brain is capital, my hands are capital, and the byproducts of my hands are capital. And once I understand my own value, I think about spatial value, the value of other people, the value of people working together, the possibility of exponential value as a result of certain kinds of bodies rubbing up against each other.
—Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates has incubated new models for artistic creation, social transformation, and building legacies. Traversing a vast array of methodologies encompassing sculpture, performance, and archives, he explores concepts of value and economy, as well as spiritual and material exchange, as they perform in charged social contexts.

Gates first began to work with clay at Iowa State University, Ames, where he received a BS in 1996. After graduating, he studied pottery in Tokoname, Japan, before receiving an MA in fine arts and religious studies from the University of Cape Town in 1998 and an MA in urban planning from Iowa State in 2006. These seemingly disparate interests came together in Gates’s oeuvre as early as 2007, in Plate Convergence at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. For this performance piece, Gates organized a dinner party themed on a fictional tale of a cultural collaboration between a Black family and a Japanese ceramicist.

In 2010 Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform targeting neighborhood regeneration, community arts programming, and cultural development in Chicago. Many of the foundation’s initiatives have focused on revitalizing Chicago’s South Side—creating hubs and archives for Black culture that catalyze discussions about race, equality, space, and history. Two years later, at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, Gates expanded this redemptive urban initiative into a transatlantic correspondence with 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, in which two derelict nineteenth-century buildings—one in Kassel, the other in Chicago—underwent a mutual transmutation, whereby parts of each were reused in the rebuilding of the other, and the resulting spaces were consecrated with live performance.

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Theaster Gates

Photo: Julien Faure/Paris Match/Getty Images

Theaster Gates, A Song for Frankie, 2017–21, 5,000 records, DJ booth, and record player

Social Works: The Archives of Frankie Knuckles Organized by Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, steward of the Frankie Knuckles record collection, is engaging with the late DJ and musician’s archive of records, ephemera, and personal effects. For the Quarterly’s “Social Works” supplement, guest edited by Antwaun Sargent, Gates presents a selection of Knuckles’s personal record collection. Chantala Kommanivanh, a Chicago-based artist, educator, and musician—and the records manager for Rebuild Foundation, Chicago—provides annotations, contextualizing these records’ importance and unique qualities. Ron Trent, a dear friend of Knuckles’s, speaks to the legacy evinced by these materials.

Edmund de Waal and Theaster Gates

Artist to Artist: Edmund de Waal and Theaster Gates

Join the artists for an extended conversation about their most recent exhibitions, their forebears in the world of ceramics, and the key role that history plays in their practices.

The crowd at the public funeral of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968. Photo by Moneta Sleet Jr.

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available.

Photo: Moneta Sleet, Jr., 1965. Johnson Publishing Company Archive. Courtesy Ford Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Smithsonian Institution.

Theaster Gates: Black Image Corporation

As a prelude to his first-ever solo exhibition in New York, Theaster Gates discusses his prescient work with the photographic archive of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company and his formation of Black Image Corporation as a conceptual project. In conversation with Louise Neri, he expands on his strategies as artist and social innovator in his quest to redeem and renew the sacred power of Black images and Black space. 

The inside of Theaster Gates’s Black Vessel for a Saint sculpture

How to Renew the Color of Bricks

Social historian Chris Dingwall reflects on Theaster Gates’s engagement with the history of quotidian materials, focusing on the symbolic qualities and function of his brick-based sculpture.

Theaster Gates in his studio

Theaster Gates: Black Vessel

Join Theaster Gates in his studio as he prepares for an upcoming exhibition at Gagosian, New York. In this video, shot on location in Chicago during the tumultuous weeks of protest in late spring 2020, Gates reflects on the metaphorical power of materials and process, and on the redemptive potential of art.

Anselm Kiefer, Volkszählung (Census), 1991, steel, lead, glass, peas, and photographs, 163 ⅜ × 224 ½ × 315 inches (4.1 × 5.7 × 8 m)/

Cast of Characters

James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.

Theaster Gates, Paris, 2019.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam

Theaster Gates’s exhibition Amalgam explores the social histories of migration and interracial relations by highlighting the specific history of the Maine island of Malaga. Here, William Whitney considers the exhibition in relation to Gates’s ongoing art practices and social commitments.

Cover of the Winter 2019 Gagosian Quarterly, featuring a selection from a black-and-white Christopher Wool photograph

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2019

The Winter 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a selection from Christopher Wool’s Westtexaspsychosculpture series on its cover.

Thelma Golden and David Adjaye.

The Studio Museum in Harlem

Established in 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem has served as a crucial institution in the development, presentation, and promotion of artists of African descent. With the museum now preparing for the construction of a new home, Gagosian’s Mark Francis spoke with Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, and Sir David Adjaye OBE, the project’s principal architect, about the building plans and the centrality of artists in their collaboration.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Theaster Gates: Slate Wall Drawing

Behind the Art
Theaster Gates: Slate Wall Drawing

Theaster Gates’s exhibition Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, features some of the artist’s slate wall drawings. Watch as Gates creates one of these works in this time-lapse video, featuring music by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Gagosian’s booth at FIAC 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Giuseppe Penone/2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; © Michael Heizer; © Georg Baselitz, 2021; © Pier Paolo Calzolari. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Art Fair

FIAC 2021

October 21–24, 2021, booth B23
Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
fiac.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in FIAC 2021 with a presentation of painting, sculpture, and works on paper by gallery artists. The booth will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Edmund de Waal, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Simon Hantaï, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Auguste Rodin, Sterling RubySetsukoJim Shawand Cy Twombly, among others. A selection of the works will also appear on gagosian.com and in FIAC’s Online Viewing Room.

To receive a pdf with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at fiac.com.

Gagosian’s booth at FIAC 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Giuseppe Penone/2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; © Michael Heizer; © Georg Baselitz, 2021; © Pier Paolo Calzolari. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects (2006–), Chicago. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley

Award

Theaster Gates
Kiesler Prize 2021

Theaster Gates has been awarded the twelfth Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts by a jury of his peers. The prize is awarded and endowed alternately every two years by the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna and organized by the Vienna-based Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation. Gates was recognized for his extraordinary achievements in effecting social change, spatial transformation, and empowerment through his creative practice, which spans a range of artistic genres connected with a social agenda and can be easily linked to the late artist/architect Frederick Kiesler’s belief in the unification of the arts with the built environment and the social notion of space.

Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects (2006–), Chicago. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley

Left: Theaster Gates. Photo: Rankin. Right: Louise Bernard

In Conversation

Theaster Gates
Louise Bernard

Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 6pm EDT

Join Theaster Gates and Louise Bernard, founding director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center, for a discussion about art and democracy on the occasion of the exhibition The Obama Portraits, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through August 15, 2021. To attend the online event, register at sales.artic.edu.

Left: Theaster Gates. Photo: Rankin. Right: Louise Bernard

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Museum Exhibitions

Installation view, Aesthetics: Collection of Qiao Zhibing, Tank Shanghai, March 19–October 11, 2021. Artwork, left: © Thomas Houseago; center and right: © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Tank Shanghai

On View

Aesthetics
Collection of Qiao Zhibing

Through December 19, 2021
Tank Shanghai
www.tankshanghai.com

Qiao Zhibing, contemporary art collector and founder of Tank Shanghai, has selected works from his private collection by twelve Chinese and international contemporary artists for this exhibition, which explores the inspiration art brings to the public from a visual perspective. Work by Theaster Gates and Thomas Houseago is included.

Installation view, Aesthetics: Collection of Qiao Zhibing, Tank Shanghai, March 19–October 11, 2021. Artwork, left: © Thomas Houseago; center and right: © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Tank Shanghai

Theaster Gates standing next to his sculpture Vessel #20 (2020). Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

On View

Theaster Gates
A Clay Sermon

Through January 9, 2022
Whitechapel Gallery, London
www.whitechapelgallery.org

Surveying two decades of work by Theaster Gates, from his early hand-thrown pots to his large-scale Afro-Mingei sculptures, A Clay Sermon investigates the material and spiritual legacies of clay. Exploring craft, labor, performance, and racial identity, as well as clay’s role in ceremony, ritual, colonialism, and global trade, Gates has made a selection of historical ceramics from private and public collections to exhibit alongside his own work. The exhibition includes a new film by Gates, which takes the form of a sermon on clay, and his most recent body of work: large stoneware vessels installed on plinths of hand-milled wood and stone.

Theaster Gates standing next to his sculpture Vessel #20 (2020). Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Slight Intervention #5, Victoria & Albert Museum, LondonSeptember 18–January 9, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Jamie Stoker

On View

Theaster Gates
Slight Intervention #5

Through January 9, 2022
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
www.vam.ac.uk

In this exhibition, Theaster Gates engages with histories of spirituality, Black music, craft, and modernism in two clay interventions. Using his skills as a potter, Gates communicates with makers across time and between cultures. The display includes a new vessel produced in response to American studio potter Peter Voulkos’s work and a vitrine containing objects made at Gates’s temporary workshop at the Istanbul Biennial.

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Slight Intervention #5, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

September 18–January 9, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Jamie Stoker

Theaster Gates, Shoe Shine 1, 2009 © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Closed

Theaster Gates in
The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

May 22–September 6, 2021
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
www.vmfa.museum

The Dirty South investigates the aesthetic impulses of early twentieth-century Black culture that have become ubiquitous within the American South. The exhibition chronicles the sonic and visual parallels that have served to shape the contemporary landscape, and looks deeply into the frameworks of landscape, religion, and the Black body—deep meditative repositories of thought and expression. Within the visual arts, assemblage, collage, appropriation, and sonic transference are explored as deeply connected to musical traditions. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

Theaster Gates, Shoe Shine 1, 2009 © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

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Press

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