Menu

Extended through January 23, 2021

Theaster Gates

Black Vessel

October 10, 2020–January 23, 2021
555 West 24th Street, New York

Installation video Play Button

Installation video

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Works Exhibited

Theaster Gates, Flag Sketch, 2020 Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper nails, 72 × 72 inches (182.9 × 182.9 cm)© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Flag Sketch, 2020

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper nails, 72 × 72 inches (182.9 × 182.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Flag Sketch, 2020 (detail) Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper nails, 72 × 72 inches (182.9 × 182.9 cm)© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Flag Sketch, 2020 (detail)

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper nails, 72 × 72 inches (182.9 × 182.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Top Heavy, 2020 Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 108 × 108 inches (274.3 × 274.3 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Jacob Hand

Theaster Gates, Top Heavy, 2020

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 108 × 108 inches (274.3 × 274.3 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Jacob Hand

Theaster Gates, Top Heavy, 2020 (detail) Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 108 × 108 inches (274.3 × 274.3 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Jacob Hand

Theaster Gates, Top Heavy, 2020 (detail)

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 108 × 108 inches (274.3 × 274.3 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Jacob Hand

Theaster Gates, Left Hand of Progress, 2020 Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 96 × 96 inches (243.8 × 243.8 cm)© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Left Hand of Progress, 2020

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 96 × 96 inches (243.8 × 243.8 cm)
© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Left Hand of Progress, 2020 (detail) Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 96 × 96 inches (243.8 × 243.8 cm)© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Left Hand of Progress, 2020 (detail)

Industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper, 96 × 96 inches (243.8 × 243.8 cm)
© Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Vessel #2, 2020 Glazed high-fired stoneware and custom-made wood plinth, 67 × 36 ½ × 17 inches (170.2 × 92.7 × 43.2 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #2, 2020

Glazed high-fired stoneware and custom-made wood plinth, 67 × 36 ½ × 17 inches (170.2 × 92.7 × 43.2 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #7, 2020 Glazed high-fired stoneware, 26 × 20 × 20 inches (66 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #7, 2020

Glazed high-fired stoneware, 26 × 20 × 20 inches (66 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #4, 2020 Glazed high-fired stoneware and custom-made wood plinth, 52 ½ × 16 × 16 inches (133.4 × 40.6 × 40.6 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #4, 2020

Glazed high-fired stoneware and custom-made wood plinth, 52 ½ × 16 × 16 inches (133.4 × 40.6 × 40.6 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #20, 2020 Glazed high-fired stoneware, 34 × 21 × 21 inches (86.4 × 53.3 × 53.3 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Vessel #20, 2020

Glazed high-fired stoneware, 34 × 21 × 21 inches (86.4 × 53.3 × 53.3 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017 Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017

Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017 (detail) Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017 (detail)

Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017 (detail) Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, New Egypt Sanctuary of the Holy Word and Image, 2017 (detail)

Wood, marble, bound publications, found objects, and light, 188 × 81 × 72 inches (477.5 × 205.7 × 182.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Walking Prayer, 2018–20 (detail) Bound embossed books and vintage Carnegie cast iron shelving, 83 × 320 × 19 inches (210.8 × 812.8 × 48.3 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Walking Prayer, 2018–20 (detail)

Bound embossed books and vintage Carnegie cast iron shelving, 83 × 320 × 19 inches (210.8 × 812.8 × 48.3 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Circle, 2020 Wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 12 × 12 × 6 ½ inches (30.5 × 30.5 × 16.5 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Circle, 2020

Wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 12 × 12 × 6 ½ inches (30.5 × 30.5 × 16.5 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Square with Marks, 2020 Wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 12 × 12 × 4 inches (30.5 × 30.5 × 10.2 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Square with Marks, 2020

Wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 12 × 12 × 4 inches (30.5 × 30.5 × 10.2 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Fringed Rectangle, 2020 Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 16 × 12 × 3 inches (40.6 × 30.5 × 7.6 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Fringed Rectangle, 2020

Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, and black stain, 16 × 12 × 3 inches (40.6 × 30.5 × 7.6 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Bad Tea, 2020 Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 18 × 5 inches (45.7 × 45.7 × 12.7 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Bad Tea, 2020

Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 18 × 5 inches (45.7 × 45.7 × 12.7 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Above and Below, 2020 Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 18 × 5 inches (45.7 × 45.7 × 12.7 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Above and Below, 2020

Wood fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 18 × 5 inches (45.7 × 45.7 × 12.7 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Tea Compression of Rectangle with Melted Bowl, 2020 Stoneware tea bowl, kiln post, refractory clay, wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 22 × 9 inches (45.7 × 55.9 × 22.9 cm)© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

Theaster Gates, Brick Reliquary – Tea Compression of Rectangle with Melted Bowl, 2020

Stoneware tea bowl, kiln post, refractory clay, wood-fired brick, wood ash, magnesium dioxide, black stain, and alumina carbide shelf, 18 × 22 × 9 inches (45.7 × 55.9 × 22.9 cm)
© Theaster Gates. Photo: Rob McKeever

About

I always find myself returning to the vessel. It is part of the intellectual life force of my practice and it precedes all other forms of making.
—Theaster Gates

Gagosian is pleased to present Black Vessel, Theaster Gates’s first-ever solo exhibition in New York.

Gates’s oeuvre is among the most conceptually and materially rich in contemporary art, anchored equally in the canons of art history, the racial ideology of the Black diaspora, and the artist’s own personal history. Through an art practice predicated on cultural reclamation and social empowerment, Gates exchanges and recharges objects and ideas, proposing the artwork as a communicating vessel or sacred reliquary of recollected histories, critical vitality, and shared experience. Traversing a broad range of formal approaches such as painting, sculpture, sound, and performance, as well as the processes of salvaging, archiving, and place making, he delivers penetrating social commentary on labor, material, spiritual capital, and commodity within a close examination of the urban condition.

The Brick Reliquaries (2020) are Gates’s latest sculptural experiments. By firing bricks with a strong manganese content to an excessive 2300°F, the known properties of the materials are transformed into the mysteries of heat-based sculpture. In some instances, the material loses its specificity when pushed to such limits; in others, the carbide shelves inside the kiln fuse with the bricks and other sculptural elements that rest on them, becoming host to material transformation.

Read more

Press

Polskin Arts
Meagan Jones
meagan.jones@finnpartners.com
+1 212 593 6485

Julia Esposito
julia.esposito@finnpartners.com
+1 212 715 1643

Gagosian
pressny@gagosian.com

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.

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.

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.

News

Left: Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley. Right: Thelma Golden. Photo: Julie Skarratt

In Conversation

Theaster Gates
Thelma Golden

Monday, January 25, 2021, 6:30pm EST

Gagosian and the Studio Museum in Harlem are pleased to present Theaster Gates in conversation with Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. This event marks the closing of Black Vessel, Gates’s first-ever solo exhibition in New York, which opened to the public on October 10, 2020, at Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street. The speakers will be introduced by Gagosian director Louise Neri. To join, register at eventbrite.com or watch live on Gagosian’s YouTube channel.

Left: Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley. Right: Thelma Golden. Photo: Julie Skarratt