This Friday, as part of the Chicago Creative Expo, Theaster Gates will be doing a talk at the Chicago Cultural Center. I got curious about his work and his background, so I ended up doing some research and found this great article. It turns out the Gates does not really do one thing, he does everything:
It’s even complicated to describe exactly what kind of artist Gates is. Trained as a potter and educated as an urban planner, he’s a craftsman with a well-honed visual aesthetic, a sensual performer whose harmonies can give you goose bumps, and a critical thinker who uses art to raise provocative questions about race. “He’s a sculptor, an installation artist, a performance artist,” explains his old friend Hamza Walker, an associate curator at the Renaissance Society. “He’s nine things at once.” (Source)
One of the most interesting things I found out about Gates’ work is that he takes old run down buildings and transforms them. Read the whole article for more details, but he purchases buildings that are in less affluent neighborhoods and transforms them into creative spaces. For example, here’s a description of Gates’ Dorchester Projects from the artist’s website:
Dorchester Projects encompasses a cluster of formerly abandoned buildings on Chicago’s South Side that Theaster Gates renovated from sites of neglect into a vibrant cultural locus. After making his home in a former storefront on South Dorchester Avenue, Gates purchased the neighboring two-story vacant house and initiated a design project to restore and reactivate the home as a site of community interaction and uplift. The success of this project led to the acquisition of a third building across the street, which with the support of grants will be redesigned as a space for film programming and artist residencies.
If you’re interested in attending the keynote on Friday, Theaster Gates will be presenting this Friday, March 9th at 10:30am at the Chicago Cultural Center.