On February 18, Theaster Gates’s first and much-anticipated museum exhibition in France, entitled Amalgam, will open at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. To coincide and to mark the announcement of representation, Gagosian will present selected recent works by Gates at 4 rue de Ponthieu, Paris, from February 12 until March 23.
In a single decade, Theaster Gates has incubated compelling new models for legacy building, social transformation, and making art. Encompassing sculpture, painting, ceramics, video, performance, and music, his art both derives from and sustains ambitious urban renewal projects—creating hubs and archives for Black culture, which serve as catalysts for discussions on race, equality, space, and history. Aspects of Gates’s oeuvre suggest the almost shamanic role of worker and artisan, where the power of the unseen is harnessed and manifested in the ordinary and everyday. In his abstract compositions made out of new and used roofing materials—tar, rubber, slate—working-class labor, ritual, and formalism intersect and are imbued with religious potency.
Occupying two floors of the Paris gallery, the works on view highlight some of Gates’s artistic preoccupations in a panoramic sweep: the Civil Tapestries (2011–) made from lengths of used firehose; the cast wall works Bronze with Stripe and Bronze (Africa) (both 2016) and tar paintings Playground with High Horizon and Torchdown (both 2014), which relate to the working history of Gates’s own family; the ceramic vessels and figurines inspired by African artifacts and made by Gates in his Chicago kiln; and Neon (Mountain) (2016), from a series of neon sculptures based on W. E. B. DuBois’s modernist data visualizations on the state of Black life in the United States, exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. The imposing and resonant statue Black Madonna (2018), set in the gallery’s streetfront vitrine, was modeled after a keychain tchotchke of a medieval sedes sapientiae (throne of wisdom), a devotional title for Mary as the vessel for the Christ Child. Paired with a salvaged hardware sign, the rebus encapsulates one of Gates’s main conceptual pursuits: to evoke the sacred and spiritual through the objects and materials of the everyday.
Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Questionnaire: Theaster Gates
In this ongoing series, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist has devised a set of thirty-seven questions that invite artists, authors, musicians, and other visionaries to address key elements of their lives and creative practices. Respondents are invited to make a selection from the larger questionnaire and to reply in as many or as few words as they desire. For this installment, we are honored to present the artist Theaster Gates, whose Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel opened in London on June 10.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).
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.
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.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2020
The Fall 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available.
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.
June 10–16, 2020
Theaster Gates’s practice traverses an extraordinary range, from collecting to social gathering, architecture and object making, experimental music and sound, and the ethical and physical reconstruction of civic life. His interdisciplinary fusion of archiving, performance, institution building, painting, and sculpting is deeply rooted in African American histories and cultures, and revolves around the transformation of objects, edifices, and communities through art and cultural activity.
Photo: Chris Strong
Gagosian is pleased to announce the representation of Theaster Gates. In a single decade, Gates has incubated compelling new models for legacy building, social transformation, and making art. Encompassing sculpture, painting, ceramics, video, performance, and music, his art both derives from and sustains ambitious urban renewal projects—creating hubs and archives for Black culture, which serve as catalysts for discussions on race, equality, space, and history. Aspects of Gates’s oeuvre suggest the almost shamanic role of worker and artisan, where the power of the unseen is harnessed and manifested in the ordinary and everyday. In his abstract compositions made out of new and used roofing materials—tar, rubber, slate—working-class labor, ritual, and formalism intersect and are imbued with religious potency.
Photo: Sara Polley
Extended through January 23, 2021
October 10, 2020–January 23, 2021
555 West 24th Street, New York