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Lecture: Theaster Gates, University of Chicago Arts Program Development and Department of Visual Arts

November 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Theaster Gates is an artist, musician, and “cultural planner” as well as Director of Arts Program Development at the University of Chicago. If pressed to describe his work in a single word, it would be “transformative.” In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions.

Gates’ training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent in Japan studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic moments, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body.

When Gates is not making art for museums, he is committed to the restoration of poor black neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raising the city’s expectations of where “place-making” happens and why.

Currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has received awards from the Joyce Foundation and the Graham Foundation. In 2010 alone, he performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show in New York; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Brunno David Gallery and Pulitzer Museum of Art in St. Louis; and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.


November 18, 2011
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm