Photo by Sara Pooley

Image rights
Courtesy of Theaster Gates and Sara Pooley

Claiming, “I think I’m a full-time artist, a full-time urban planner, and a full-time preacher with an aspiration of no longer needing any of those titles,” Theaster Gates makes work focused on racism and poverty in America, and works to make change in downtrodden communities across the country. His practice is grounded in African-American history and culture, and in his own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Slavery, industrial exploitation, and the Civil Rights Movement feature prominently in his sculptures, installations, and performances, into which he incorporates such materials as shoe shine stations and fire hoses. During the 2008 financial crisis, Gates decided to focus on fostering improvement through art. Starting in his own neighborhood and expanding to other communities, he has effectively rejuvenated numerous abandoned buildings, transforming them into vibrant social hubs and cultural spaces.

Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions
2019
Theaster Gates: Selected WorksGagosian
Theaster Gates: AmalgamPalais de Tokyo
2016
THEASTER GATES: TRUE VALUEFondazione Prada
View all

Halsted Hardware Store Chicago, 2014

Location
Milan, Venice, Milano, Miami

Photo by Sara Pooley

Image rights
Courtesy of Theaster Gates and Sara Pooley

Claiming, “I think I’m a full-time artist, a full-time urban planner, and a full-time preacher with an aspiration of no longer needing any of those titles,” Theaster Gates makes work focused on racism and poverty in America, and works to make change in downtrodden communities across the country. His practice is grounded in African-American history and culture, and in his own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Slavery, industrial exploitation, and the Civil Rights Movement feature prominently in his sculptures, installations, and performances, into which he incorporates such materials as shoe shine stations and fire hoses. During the 2008 financial crisis, Gates decided to focus on fostering improvement through art. Starting in his own neighborhood and expanding to other communities, he has effectively rejuvenated numerous abandoned buildings, transforming them into vibrant social hubs and cultural spaces.

Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Collected by major museums
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Selected exhibitions (3)
Other works by Theaster Gates
Related works
Related artists