This was the first program in a series of artist conversations held in conjunction with the New Museum exhibition ‘Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America’. This conversation included artist Theaster Gates and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum.
Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise: one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.
In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighbourhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side.
Gates has exhibited and performed at Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 Prize and a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture, and the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates received the 2020 Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities.
Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College.