May your love be the vestment of my sorrows and the garment of our profound joy.
Gagosian is pleased to announce Vestment, an exhibition of new works by Theaster Gates at 976 Madison Avenue, New York.
Vestment, a new series of tar paintings or “torch works” by Gates, continues the artist’s ongoing engagement with formalism and mark making at the scale of the roof. In this suite of paintings and a sculpture, Gates diverges from earlier monochromatic torch works and experiments with color as a formal device for exploring spiritual and stylistic hierarchies, religious garments and aggrandizement, and the symbolism and universalism of nationhood.
The new tar paintings serve as a distillate of some of the key intellectual musings with which Gates has grappled over the past year and throughout his practice. Invoking his recent meditations on the legacies of Russian Suprematism and Constructivism, along with the technical restraint and conceptual rigor of artists such as Josef Albers and Agnes Martin, Gates considers the cross as a politically galvanizing device and motif of religious social form. The ubiquity and iconography of the cross responds to the priestly vestments present throughout Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (1966)—a seminal film that anchors Gates’s artistic study of the late scholar Robert Bird’s archive of Russian film, philosophy, and literature. Andrei Rublev, in this way, serves as a gateway for further investigations of ritual, sacred acts, ranking, and symbolism.
From clay to tar, the ritual of fire and the alchemical power of the flame is a fundamental axis for Gates in his practice. Through the torch, Gates challenges us to reconsider the stylistic grading of humble materials and labor-based practices. Paying homage to his father’s craft as a roofer, Gates honors the lineage of knowledge and transference of this skill while demonstrating the malleability, vulnerability, and precarity of the form. These new torch works extend the artist’s interest in preserving, celebrating, and elevating near-obsolete processes into and within the art historical canon. Through the dynamism of this practice, Gates remains conversant with these labor traditions.
Vestment coincides with Young Lords and Their Traces, the artist’s first museum survey, at the New Museum, New York, from November 10, 2022, through February 5, 2023. As an adjacent project, Gates has curated The Trace, a slate of films that begin to lay out the origins of Russian engagement with Black American labor movements through cinematic relationships. This series, which will run from November 16 to November 27, 2022, is copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph as a complement to Vestment and the New Museum exhibition.
976 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10–6
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.
Screening and Talk
Dr. Christina Kiaer
Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 7pm
Metrograph, New York
Join Theaster Gates as he introduces The Trace, a film program he curated as part of a series copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph. Gates’s program explores filmic relationships across genres and decades that begin to lay out the origins of Russian engagement with Black American labor movements and analogous cinematic projects. Foregrounding the artist’s interest in propaganda and nation building, Gates and Dr. Christina Kiaer, Arthur Andersen Teaching and Research Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, will discuss the political voicing and aesthetic and technical devices that appear in films about the Soviet project and the Black Power movement, anchoring their dialogue on Andrei Tarkovsky’s revered film Andrei Rublev, while reflecting on the sacred, the radicalized, and the culturally specific. Clips from Andrei Rublev, Soviet newsreels, and Zora Neale Hurston’s anthropological fieldwork in the rural South will be screened before the talk.
Still from Andrei Rublev (1966), directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Theaster Gates Selects
November 16–27, 2022
Metrograph, New York
Theaster Gates has curated a selection of films under the title The Trace, as part of a series copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph, in the theater and online. The program, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces at the New Museum, New York, will explore filmic relationships across different genres and decades that begin to lay out the origins of Russian engagement with Black American labor movements and analogous cinematic projects.
Still from Daughters of the Dust (1991), directed by Julie Dash
Extended through January 23, 2021
October 10, 2020–January 23, 2021
555 West 24th Street, New York