Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago where he creates work that focuses on space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform aimed at galvanizing communities through neighborhood regeneration and the development of educational and arts programming and amenities. Many of the foundation’s initiatives have focused on the revitalization of Chicago’s South Side, creating hubs and archives for black culture, which serve as catalysts for discussions on race, equality, space, and history.
Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, Gates creates work from the focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” Gates smartly upturns art values, land values, and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.
His current academic affiliations with the University of Chicago; the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; and Colby College, Waterville, Maine, aid the evolution of earlier vocational pursuits in public service, urban planning, and religious studies.
Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2019); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019), Sprengel Museum Hannover (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012). Public collections include Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles.
Gates was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and was a recipient of the Légion d'Honneur in 2017. He was recently awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018, as well as the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.