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Artist Spotlight

Theaster Gates

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.

Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only. 

Artist Spotlight: Theaster Gates will feature a new work directly from the artist’s studio. For more information, please contact the gallery at collecting@gagosian.com.

Photo: Chris Strong

Photo: Chris Strong

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.

Photograph of Serpertine Pavilion designed by Theaster Gates © Theaster Gates Studio. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy: Serpentine

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.

Takashi Murakami cover and Andreas Gursky cover for Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2022 magazine

Now available
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).

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.

Related News

Theaster Gates takeover at the Gagosian Shop, London, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Shop Takeover

Theaster Gates

June 10–July 2, 2022
Gagosian Shop, London

Theaster Gates is taking over the Gagosian Shop in London’s historic Burlington Arcade on the occasion of his 2022 Serpentine Pavilion, Black Chapel, and his exhibition at Gagosian, Basel, titled ASHEN. For the takeover, Gates created an immersive environment in which visitors may explore his wide-ranging practice.

The display includes wall and floor sculptures featuring a range of clay vessels—tea bowls, water jars, sake cups—forms that are foundational to Gates’s art making. Downstairs, the bottom floor of the Shop has been transformed into a reading room where visitors can browse a curated selection of books that have influenced the artist, with subjects ranging from urban planning and pottery to the Russian avant-garde. Two limited-edition vinyl records produced by Gates and his musical ensemble the Black Monks are also available.

Theaster Gates takeover at the Gagosian Shop, London, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

Serpentine Pavilion 2022: Black Chapel by Theaster Gates, London, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy Serpentine

Commission

Theaster Gates
Serpentine Pavilion 2022

June 10–October 16, 2022
Serpentine Pavilion, London
www.serpentinegalleries.org

Theaster Gates has been commissioned to design the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion in London. Realized with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates and set within Serpentine’s grounds in Kensington Gardens, Black Chapel draws inspiration from the architectural typologies of both chapels and the kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, England, paying homage to British craft and manufacturing traditions. Continuing Gates’s ongoing experimentation with clay objects in his studio practice, the design also reflects the artist’s interest in space making through various urban revitalization projects. Open annually from June to October, the Serpentine Pavilion has become an international site for architectural experimentation.

To mark the opening of the Pavilion, Gates and Sir David Adjaye will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist on June 8 at 2pm. The wide-ranging discussion will encompass their respective work in art, architecture, urbanism, and space making. To attend the event, purchase tickets at ticketing.serpentingegalleries.org.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022: Black Chapel by Theaster Gates, London, 2022. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy Serpentine

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. The ceremony took place in Vienna on June 15, 2022.

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

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Museum Exhibitions

Sally Mann, The Bath, 1989 © Sally Mann

On View

Monochrome Multitudes

Through January 8, 2023
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

Revisiting classic modernist ideas about flatness, idealized form, and colors, this exhibition opens up the seemingly reductive format of the monochrome to reveal its global resonance and creative possibilities while working toward a more expansive narrative of twentieth and twenty-first century art. Work by Alexander Calder, Walter De Maria, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Frank Gehry, Sally Mann, and Richard Serra is included.

Sally Mann, The Bath, 1989 © Sally Mann

Theaster Gates, The Double Wide, 2022, installation view, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson © Theaster Gates. Photo: Mitro Hood, courtesy Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, and Baltimore Museum of Art

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Theaster Gates in
A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration

April 9–September 11, 2022
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson
www.msmuseumart.org

A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration explores the profound impact of the Great Migration on the social and cultural life of the United States from historical and personal perspectives. The Great Migration (1915–70) saw more than six million Black Americans leave the South for cities across the country. The exhibition features newly commissioned works in a variety of media by twelve Black artists who explore themes of perseverance, self-determination, and self-reliance in their practices. Informed by research, explorations, and conversations, they examine the impacts this historical phenomenon continues to have today. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

Theaster Gates, The Double Wide, 2022, installation view, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson © Theaster Gates. Photo: Mitro Hood, courtesy Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, and Baltimore Museum of Art

Theaster Gates, Long Run, Left with Guide Line, 2018 © Theaster Gates. Photo: Evan Bedford

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Theaster Gates in
Working Thought

March 5–June 26, 2022
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
cmoa.org

Working Thought examines the role that art can play in considering and questioning the myriad ways in which economic inequality and labor have shaped American life in the past and present. Featuring work by thirty-five contemporary artists working across mediums and generations, the exhibition presents new commissions and loans alongside works from the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection, positioning its holdings in a new light and within the context of Pittsburgh’s history as a center of industry. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

Theaster Gates, Long Run, Left with Guide Line, 2018 © Theaster Gates. Photo: Evan Bedford

Theaster Gates, A Clay Sermon, 2021 (still) © Theaster Gates

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Theaster Gates in
Hawai‘i Triennial 2022: Pacific Century–E Ho‘omau No Moananuiākea

February 18–May 8, 2022
Various locations around Oahu, Hawaii
hawaiicontemporary.org

Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 is framed around interweaving themes of history, place, and identity within the context of Hawaiʻi’s unique location at the confluence of the Asia Pacific region and Oceania. Installed across seven of Oahu’s major cultural institutions, the triennial features the work of more than sixty artists from Hawaii and beyond. The event is organized by Hawai‘i Contemporary, a Honolulu-based nonprofit organization. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

Theaster Gates, A Clay Sermon, 2021 (still) © Theaster Gates

See all Museum Exhibitions for Theaster Gates