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Photo: courtesy Theaster Gates Studio

Performance

Gray Sound Sessions
Theaster Gates

Friday, July 31, 2020, 7–8pm edt

Theaster Gates and special guests will perform Gates’s sound piece Whoa de Whoa as part of Gray Sound Sessions, a free streaming weekly music-and-sound series featuring concerts, happenings, and experiments with form and platform. The event is put on by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. To watch the live performance, visit Theaster Gates’s Instagram.

Photo: courtesy Theaster Gates Studio

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

Online Exhibition

Broadcast
Alternate Meanings in Film and Video

You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
—Timothy Leary

Gagosian is pleased to present Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video, an online exhibition of artists’ films and videos viewable exclusively on gagosian.com. The exhibition will be organized into a series of “chapters,” each lasting two weeks. The first chapter begins on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now, taking the words of famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary as its starting point. 

Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Tour

American Pastoral

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London

Join Gagosian for a tour of the group exhibition American Pastoral. The show juxtaposes modern and contemporary works with historical American landscapes ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the sublime in Sunset over the River (1877) to Edward Hopper’s tranquil seaside scene, Gloucester Harbor (1926). Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will focus on a select grouping of exhibited works that seek to challenge the idealized vision of the American Dream that has long been a rich topic of inquiry for artists in the United States. To attend the free event, RSVP to londontours@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Theaster Gates with his work So Bitter, This Curse of Darkness (2019) in the exhibition Theaster Gates: Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: © Palais de Tokyo, Paris

In Conversation

Theaster Gates, Grace Wales Bonner, and Michael Ralph

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 4:30–6:30pm
Museum of Liverpool, England
www.tate.org.uk

On the occasion of Theaster Gates: Amalgam, opening on December 13 at Tate Liverpool, England, the artist will speak with fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner and Michael Ralph, associate professor and director of Africana studies at New York University. The trio will discuss how Gates’s art transforms places and aims to improve the lives of the people who live there. The artist will also share his thoughts about his ongoing artistic endeavors on questions of land ownership, displacement, and interracial relationships. The event has reached capacity.

Theaster Gates with his work So Bitter, This Curse of Darkness (2019) in the exhibition Theaster Gates: Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: © Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2018 © Richard Prince

Auction

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
2019 Benefit Art Auction

Live auction: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 8:30pm
Silent auction: November 1–16, 2019
Preview: November 12–16, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
mcachicago.org

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents its annual Benefit Art Auction on Saturday, November 16, with a cocktail reception and viewing of the available works, followed by a seated dinner and live auction. Works by leading artists, including Virgil AblohTheaster GatesTakashi MurakamiRichard PrinceSarah Sze, and Christopher Wool, have been donated. All proceeds support MCA programs and exhibitions. For information on works in the live or silent auctions, visit artsy.netTo attend the event, purchase tickets at mcachicago.org.

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2018 © Richard Prince

The Extreme Present

Exhibition

The Extreme Present

Opening reception: Tuesday, December 3, 5–8pm
December 4–8, 2019
Moore Building, Miami

Gagosian is pleased to announce The Extreme Present, the fifth in a series of annual exhibitions at the Moore Building in the Miami Design District during Art Basel Miami Beach, presented by Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch. The Extreme Present will explore artists’ reactions to the conditions of our accelerating and increasingly complex world. The title is inspired by The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, a book by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, published in 2015. Their provocative thesis addresses the rapidly evolving digital era, half a century after Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking study on technology’s influence on culture, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in which he coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” Works in this exhibition explore concepts of media, communication, togetherness, and isolation.

Download the full press release (PDF)

The Extreme Present

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Announcements

Theaster Gates, Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017 © Theaster Gates. Photo: Gene Pittman

Permanent Installation

Theaster Gates
Black Vessel for a Saint

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has permanently installed Theaster Gates’s Black Vessel for a Saint (2017) in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. In 2014, St. Laurence Church, located just a few blocks from Theaster Gates’s Chicago studio and considered an architectural beacon in the neighborhood for more than a century, was demolished. Among the objects and materials that Gates collected from the building was a life-size stone statue of St. Laurence, a venerated Roman martyr and the patron saint of librarians and archivists. Gates included the statue in several exhibitions in Europe, revealing new meanings in each location, before placing it in its permanent home in the Sculpture Garden in 2017, within a shrine built from custom-made black bricks.

Theaster Gates, Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017 © Theaster Gates. Photo: Gene Pittman

Photo: Rankin

Award

Theaster Gates
Visions of the City

Theaster Gates was selected as the second recipient of the Visions of the City artist grant in July 2019. Launched by the Obayashi Foundation in 2017, the program awards one research grant every two years to an artist with an abundance of creative ideas and a specific interest in urban development and renewal.

Photo: Rankin

Photo: Sara Polley

Honor

Theaster Gates
Légion d’honneur

Theaster Gates received the Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur from the French Ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, in 2017.

Photo: Sara Polley

Theaster Gates speaking at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Award

Theaster Gates
2020 Crystal Award

Theaster Gates received the 2020 Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities. Gates was awarded the prize at the January 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, alongside choreographer Jin Xing, actor Deepika Padukon, and artist Lynette Wallworth. The annual award is bestowed to cultural leaders who reflect on the human condition and provide visions of the world that can cut through the limitations of short-term or linear thinking.

Theaster Gates speaking at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Theaster Gates, america, america, 2019 (detail) © Theaster Gates

Commission

Theaster Gates
Chicago Transit Authority

In April 2019, the Chicago Transit Authority unveiled two new works by Theaster Gates, commissioned for the recently completed 95th/Dan Ryan station, located at the southernmost end of the city’s Red Line. With america, america (2019), a pair of large tapestries made from decommissioned fire hoses, on display in the station’s South Terminal, the artist aims to formally materialize the history of the civil rights struggle in the US and to acknowledge that the work of equity and equality is an ongoing effort carried on not by one person but by all.

Theaster Gates, america, america, 2019 (detail) © Theaster Gates

Photo: Sara Polley

New Representation

Theaster Gates

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.

Download the press release in English (PDF) or French (PDF)

Photo: Sara Polley

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Museum Exhibitions

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Black Chapel, Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 25, 2019–August 16, 2020. Artwork © Theaster Gates

On View

Theaster Gates
Black Chapel

Through August 16, 2020
Haus der Kunst, Munich
hausderkunst.de

For the sixth iteration of Haus der Kunst’s Der Öffentlichkeit commission series, Theaster Gates has created the expansive Black Chapel. This multipartite installation directly responds to the architecture of Haus der Kunst’s Middle Hall, exposing it to a complex politically and spiritually charged narrative while rendering it as an inviting social space. Two large pavilions, as well as vitrines, contain sculptures, photographs, and documents. Rotating mirrored sculptures and illuminated panels displaying photographs from the landmark Johnson Publishing Company further animate the space.

Installation view, Theaster Gates: Black Chapel, Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 25, 2019–August 16, 2020. Artwork © Theaster Gates

Photo: Isaac Sutton, courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved

On View

Theaster Gates
The Black Image Corporation

Through December 5, 2020
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta
www.spelman.edu

As an ongoing concern, Theaster Gates’s Black Image Archive examines the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company archive, which contains more than four million images and helped shape the aesthetic and cultural vision of modern African American identity. Founded by John H. Johnson in 1942, the company created Ebony and Jet, two key periodicals for Black American audiences. Gates’s participatory exhibition invites visitors to actively explore the archive, which includes images by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, among many others.

Photo: Isaac Sutton, courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved

Theaster Gates, Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power?, 2018 (still) © Theaster Gates

Opening Soon

Future Histories
Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith

Opening August 2020
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
www.sfmoma.org

Bringing together the work of two interdisciplinary artists, this presentation centers on video projections that each take archival magazine photography as a departure point. Theaster Gates’s Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? (2018) pays homage to the power of women by exploring the idea of the Black Madonna through a reworking of three decades of images drawn from the archives of the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines. Smith’s Sojourner (2018) culminates with a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph taken for Life magazine in 1966.

Theaster Gates, Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power?, 2018 (still) © Theaster Gates

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

Closed

Theaster Gates
Amalgam

December 13, 2019–May 3, 2020
Tate Liverpool, England
www.tate.org.uk

In Amalgam Theaster Gates explores social histories of migration and interracial relations by focusing on a specific episode in the American narrative concerning the forced eviction of Black and mixed-race residents from the island of Malaga off the coast of Maine. The artist’s interest in this historical event has given rise to new sculptural, architectural, filmic, and musical perspectives in his oeuvre as he critically examines the history of land ownership and race relations in the northeastern United States. This show has traveled from the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

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

Closed

Theaster Gates
Assembly Hall

September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
walkerart.org

Taking things that have been cast aside from libraries, archives, and collections, Theaster Gates asks us to consider what it means to invest objects with new meanings through the simple acts of conservation and care. This exhibition brings a number of Gates’s collections into a museum context for the first time. The Walker’s galleries transpose the artist’s vast collections and studio environment into four immersive rooms, each infused with his own poetic intervention.

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

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

Closed

Theaster Gates in
. . . and other such stories

September 19, 2019–January 5, 2020
Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019
chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org

The third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial invites practitioners and the public to engage with architecture and the built environment as prisms through which to reflect upon social, geopolitical, and ecological processes that affect our collective past, present, and future. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

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

Douglas Gordon, Monster, 1996–97 © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Closed

Mask
In Present-Day Art

September 1, 2019–January 5, 2020
Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland
www.aargauerkunsthaus.ch

This exhibition explores how the subject of the mask is being addressed in contemporary art. Interest in masks among contemporary artists focuses not just on the mask as an object but also, and in particular, on its social, cultural, and political implications. Work by Theaster Gates, Douglas Gordon, and Cindy Sherman is included.

Douglas Gordon, Monster, 1996–97 © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Theaster Gates, Gold Landscape in Three Strokes, 2017 © Theaster Gates

Closed

La source

April 13–November 3, 2019
Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles, France
www.fondationcarmignac.com

Visitors are invited to take off their shoes before descending beneath the surface of the Provençal farmhouse where the exhibition is staged to discover more than sixty artworks from the collection, as well as important loans and new productions. Work by Theaster Gates and Roy Lichtenstein is included.

Theaster Gates, Gold Landscape in Three Strokes2017 © Theaster Gates

Closed

Theaster Gates in
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography

June 23–September 22, 2019
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
www.mfah.org

The exhibition surveys the gradual recognition of fashion photography as an art form through more than two hundred photographs and presents a broad and diverse perspective on the art form and its trajectory from niche industry to powerful cultural force. Work by Theaster Gates is included.

Portrait of a woman from the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company. Photo: courtesy Theaster Gates

Closed

Theaster Gates
Facsimile Cabinet of Women Origin Stories

March 12–September 8, 2019
Colby Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine
www.colby.edu

This exhibition features nearly three thousand images from the Johnson Publishing Company archive, which since 1942 has chronicled the lives of black Americans through the magazines Ebony and Jet. Theaster Gates’s project, composed from this important archive of black visual culture, recontextualizes and reanimates these images and their histories, as Facsimile Cabinet is both a repository and an interactive archive.

Portrait of a woman from the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company. Photo: courtesy Theaster Gates

Photo: courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved

Closed

The Black Image Corporation

April 25–July 28, 2019
Gropius Bau, Berlin
www.berlinerfestspiele.de

Conceived by Theaster Gates, this exhibition looks at the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company archive, which features more than four million images and has helped shape the aesthetic and cultural languages of the contemporary African American identity. Founded by John H. Johnson in 1942, the company created Ebony and Jet, two of the landmark publications for black American audiences. The participatory exhibition focuses on the works of Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, two photographers whose works are in the collection. This exhibition has traveled from the Fondazione Prada in Milan.

Photo: courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved

Artwork © Theaster Gates

Closed

Theaster Gates
Amalgam

February 20–May 12, 2019
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
www.palaisdetokyo.com

For his first solo museum exhibition in France, Theaster Gates explores social histories of migration and interracial relations by focusing on a specific episode in the American narrative—a situation of black subjugation and the imperial domination and racial mixing that resulted from it. The artist’s interest in this phenomenon has given rise to new sculptural, architectural, filmic, and musical perspectives in his oeuvre as he critically examines the history of land ownership and race relations in the northeastern United States.

Artwork © Theaster Gates

See all Museum Exhibitions for Theaster Gates