Through May 16, 2021
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Theaster Gates’s Breathing (2010) is a video work inspired by the artist’s avid interest in Eastern Buddhism as well as his lifelong personal relationship with traditional gospel music, which constituted a formative aspect of his Baptist upbringing. The singers who appear in the video belong to an experimental choir known as the Black Monks (formerly the Black Monks of Mississippi), which Gates has directed since 2008. The Black Monks merge Black Southern gospel and blues music with the monastic chant traditions of Buddhism. The soothing, beautiful melodies that result from this unique hybrid testify to the potency of Black spiritual musical legacies while alluding to a communal experience that transcends geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.
Theaster Gates, Breathing, 2010 (still) © Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith
October 17, 2020–May 23, 2021
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
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 Smith’s Sojourner (2018) culminates with a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph taken for Life magazine in 1966.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
Through May 23, 2021
Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai
Theaster Gates: China Cabinet explores the links that exist between Gates’s activity as a ceramist and his work as a visual artist, performer, professor, urban planner, and community activist. Organized with support of Fondazione Prada, the exhibition is conceived as a narrative in three chapters that unfolds across multiple staged settings in which the artist’s role evolves from guest to ghost to host. Following tableaux suggesting an antique Chinese porcelain boutique and a reconstruction of Gates’s potter’s workshop, the story culminates with the artist’s complete occupation of Prada Rong Zhai with artworks displayed as they would be in a private home.
Installation view, Theaster Gates: China Cabinet, Prada Rong Zhai, Shanghai, March 11–May 23, 2021. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Alessandro Wang
Theaster Gates in
Lost and Looking
Through June 5, 2021
Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, Indiana
Considering how place and loss affect us all, the artists included in Lost and Looking confront the reality of our pasts and our futures. Places from our collective and personal histories help define who we are even as they remain fluid in our mind’s eyes. The exhibiting artists consistently explore how true or fictionalized memories can be, and how accurate or inaccurate recorded history truly is. The ever-shifting landscape, filled with false histories, be they personal or historical, drives these artists in their quest for higher meaning. Work by Theaster Gates is included.
Theaster Gates, Whyte Hole, 2010 © Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates in
Promise, Witness, Remembrance
Through June 6, 2021
Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
Promise, Witness, Remembrance reflects on the life of Breonna Taylor, her killing by Louisville police in 2020, and the year of protests that followed, both locally and around the world. The group exhibition explores the dualities of this personal, local story and the nation’s reflection on the promise, witness, and remembrance of too many Black lives lost to gun violence. Work by Theaster Gates is included.
Theaster Gates, Alls my life I has to fight, 2019 (detail) © Theaster Gates. Photo: Jim Prinz
Grief and Grievance
Art and Mourning in America
Through June 6, 2021
New Museum, New York
Grief and Grievance, originally conceived by curator Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019), is an intergenerational exhibition, bringing together thirty-seven artists working in a variety of mediums who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance are further considered, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life. The exhibition comprises works encompassing video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance made within the last decade, along with several key historical works and a series of new commissions created in response to the concept of the exhibition. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellen Gallagher, and Theaster Gates is included.
Theaster Gates, Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, 2014 (still) © Theaster Gates
Through August 29, 2021
In his exhibition Bad Neon, Theaster Gates transforms the unique space of Tank Shanghai—which is housed within decommissioned aviation fuel tanks of a former airport—into a roller-skating rink, complete with neon lights, music, and artworks. Visitors are invited to experience the energy of Gates’s art on skates, including two iceberg-shaped sculptures, Houseberg (gold) and Houseberg (silver), which pay tribute to 1980s Chicago house music and clubs. Over the course of the exhibition, musicians and artists will craft different genres of music, introducing more possibilities to the site.
Photo: Daniel Limpi/EyeEm/Getty Images, courtesy Tank Shanghai
Field of Dreams
Through August 31, 2021
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Field of Dreams activates the Parrish Art Museum’s expansive meadows with sculpture by ten international, multigenerational artists that engages and responds to the museum’s architecture and landscape. Created to extend the galleries outdoors, the exhibition series is part of the Parrish’s new Art in the Meadow initiative that enlivens its 14-acre grounds with artworks, performances, and projections. Work by Theaster Gates, Roy Lichtenstein, and Giuseppe Penone is included.
Theaster Gates, Monument in Waiting, 2020, installation view, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy GRAY, Chicago/New York
The Harry David Art Collection
September 19, 2020–March 18, 2021
National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens
The South African term ubuntu refers to notions of community and a spirit of sharing. As the inaugural exhibition of works from the Harry David Art Collection—which showcases leading artists active in Africa and the diaspora as well as African American artists—Ubuntu introduces five distinct curatorial viewpoints unfolding across five specially designed rooms. Each presents a personal selection of works from the collection chosen by one of five different artists and curators. In this way, the collection functions as a resource that is open to interpretation, with each space enabling artworks to be encountered as a series of unique conversations. Work by Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Romauld Hazoumè, and Meleko Mokgosi is included.
Ellen Gallagher, Abu Simbel, 2005 © Ellen Gallagher
The Black Image Corporation
January 28–December 5, 2020
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta
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
October 25, 2019–August 16, 2020
Haus der Kunst, Munich
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
December 13, 2019–May 3, 2020
Tate Liverpool, England
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
September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
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 in
. . . and other such stories
September 19, 2019–January 5, 2020
Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019
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
In Present-Day Art
September 1, 2019–January 5, 2020
Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland
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
April 13–November 3, 2019
Fondation Carmignac, Porquerolles, France
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 Strokes, 2017 © Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates in
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography
June 23–September 22, 2019
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
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.
Facsimile Cabinet of Women Origin Stories
March 12–September 8, 2019
Colby Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine
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
The Black Image Corporation
April 25–July 28, 2019
Gropius Bau, Berlin
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
February 20–May 12, 2019
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
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
The Black Image Corporation
September 20, 2018–January 14, 2019
Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milan
Conceived by Theaster Gates, this exhibition looks at the legacy of 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.
Installation view, The Black Image Corporation, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milan, September 20, 2018–January 14, 2019, with Theaster Gates. Photo: Uga Dalla Porta
How to Build a House Museum
July 21–October 30, 2016
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Theaster Gates’s immersive exhibition, organized as a world of symbolic structures and their associated objects, explored the potential of house museums—historically important landmarks that have been transformed into legacy sites. Proposing new ways of honoring and remembering Black experience, Gates explored the potential of these spaces through music, dance, video, sculpture, and painting. The exhibition was dedicated to Black luminaries including George Black, Frankie Knuckles, and Muddy Waters. How to Build a House Museum invited visitors to tour the house museum in its many possible forms: as an architectural monument, a historical representation, or a site of freedom.
Installation view, Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, July 21–October 30, 2016 © Theaster Gates
July 7–September 25, 2016
Fondazione Prada, Milan
True Value, the first exhibition by Theaster Gates in Milan, brought together a selection of existing works and new commissions in two different spaces at Fondazione Prada. The Cisterna featured works in which the artist explored habitual, everyday things that are charged with and convey a deep understanding of the social histories in which they have been immersed. At the Podium, Gates presented True Value (2016), the installation after which the exhibition was named—his rendition of an abandoned hardware store. True Value gathers materials, objects, and tools removed from their original context and relocated in an art environment, deploying a framework to formulate a poetic and pragmatic space around objects of trade and the human relationships created through those economic and labor exchanges.
Installation view, Theaster Gates: True Value, Fondazione Prada, Milan, July 7–September 25, 2016. Artwork © Theaster Gates. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio
Theaster Gates in
June 9–September 16, 2012
Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany
This installation by Theaster Gates, made in an abandoned hotel in Kassel, Germany, on the occasion of Documenta 13, imagined the ambitious restoration of the hotel with labor and materials from an abandoned building on Chicago’s South Side. In addition to becoming a home for sculptural works, the three-story building also functioned as a platform for wellness, public conversations, ongoing musical performances by the Black Monks of Mississippi, and sleeping quarters for a team of skilled builders, artists, and other makers in training—all part of a larger project of service to community, and community in service to craft.
Theaster Gates, 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, 2012, installation view, Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, June 9–September 16, 2012 © Theaster Gates. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani Studio