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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Theaster Gates

b. 1973, USA

Theaster Gates is an American conceptual artist who works at the intersection of urban planning, object-making and performance. He was born in Chicago, where he still lives and works.

Much of Gates' work is characterised by the use of discarded everyday materials deeply rooted in African American history and culture, such as tar, fire hoses and shoeshine stands. In his iconic 'Civil Tapestry' series, the artist sourced strips of decommissioned fire hoses from his neighbourhood in Chicago and composed them into abstract paintings. These works allude to the fire hoses used to subdue protestors who were marching as part of the ongoing struggles for African American civil rights during the 1963 Children's Crusade civil rights march in Birmingham, Alabama.

Gates is committed to blurring the lines between art and community activism. He founded Rebuild Foundation—a non-profit organisation focused on culturally driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities. The Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) and the Stony Island Arts Bank are the most ambitious and celebrated among the projects initiated and run by the foundation. Having achieved enormous impact rehabilitating the long-downtrodden neighbourhoods on Chicago's South Side, these projects established Gates as one of the most fast-rising stars in the international art world.

For DA+HC, Gates restored dilapidated buildings and transformed them into alternative cultural institutions, houses and meeting spaces. In 2013, Gates convinced the city of Chicago to sell him the Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank Building, days before its scheduled demolition, in exchange for a commitment to reactivate the space with art and culture. Serving as 'a repository for African American culture', as Gates described in a press release, the building now houses a precious archive of books, vinyl records and artefacts representing the legacy of the local community. Both projects are part of what the artist described to Art in America as a 'circular ecological system', since they are financed by the sale of artworks created with the raw materials salvaged from the derelict architectures.

Gates' socially-engaged practice is fundamental to his oeuvre. In an interview with Ocula Magazine in 2017, Gates reflected, 'The silos between art and the social are contrived. ... The work I do is one work, one impulse, one imperative, one permission, different forms. It is always about affect, intention and aesthetics.' He has received numerous awards, including the Nasher Prize (2018), the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2017) and Artes Mundi 6 (2015).

Sophia Bingqin Cao | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

Bronze (Africa) by Theaster Gates contemporary artwork
Theaster GatesBronze (Africa), 2016 Bronze with tar
198.1 x 144.8 x 13.3 cm
Gagosian
Bronze with Stripe by Theaster Gates contemporary artwork
Theaster GatesBronze with Stripe, 2016 Bronze with tar
174 x 175.3 cm
Gagosian
Black Madonna by Theaster Gates contemporary artwork
Theaster GatesBlack Madonna, 2018 Bronze with tar
148.6 x 66.7 x 54 cm
Gagosian

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, An Exhibition For Notre-Dame at Gagosian, Paris
Closed
11 June–27 July 2019 Group Exhibition An Exhibition For Notre-Dame Gagosian, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Continuing Abstraction at Gagosian, Basel
Closed
10 June–13 July 2019 Group Exhibition Continuing Abstraction Gagosian, Basel
Contemporary art exhibition, Theaster Gates, Selected Works at Gagosian, Paris
Closed
12 February–23 March 2019 Theaster Gates Selected Works Gagosian, Paris

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Theaster Gates Ocula Conversation Theaster Gates Artist, USA

In 2009, Theaster Gates purchased a vacant building on the 6900 block of South Dorchester Avenue, and turned it into a library. As the project developed, it would become known as the Dorchester Projects, with Gates acquiring other buildings to create social spaces centred on culture, such as Black House Cinema, which hosts screenings and...

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In Related Press

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Your Concise Los Angeles Art Guide for Fall 2019 Related Press Your Concise Los Angeles Art Guide for Fall 2019 Hyperallergic : 10 September 2019

Below you'll find a fun mix of museum and gallery shows, performances, and film screenings taking place over the next few months in the greater Los Angeles area. We know how hard it is to keep track of all that's going on, so we've compiled some of the events that stood out to us and organized them according to theme and type. We're hoping there'll...

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Preview Art Basel 2019 Related Press Preview Art Basel 2019 ARTnews : 7 June 2019

Art Basel 2019 opens to the public on Thursday, June 13, with two preview days, on June 11 and 12. Some 290 galleries from 34 countries will show work at the Swiss fair, which runs through June 16.

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Gagosian to go off-piste with first pop-up show during Art Basel Related Press Gagosian to go off-piste with first pop-up show during Art Basel The Art Newspaper : 4 June 2019

Last year, Gagosian introduced an innovative virtual online viewing room during Art Basel. This year, the gallery is creating another sales platform during the Swiss fair, this time taking a bricks and mortar approach with an off-site pop-up exhibition titled Continuing Abstraction (10—16 June).

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The Black Image Corporation: An Identity Archive Related Press The Black Image Corporation: An Identity Archive Berlin Art Link : 27 May 2019

Behind the grand wrought-iron doors of Gropius Bau's first floor gallery, Chicago artist Theaster Gates presents the legacy of Johnson Publishing Company in an archival photo exhibition honouring the power behind images of black female beauty and culture in post-war America.

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In Video & Audio

Interview with Theaster Gates Related Video & Audio Interview with Theaster Gates ArtAsiaPacific : 26 April 2017

ArtAsiaPacific sat down with artist and urban planner Theaster Gates for an exclusive interview about his latest exhibition at White Cube, Hong Kong. Gates discussed his objective of using unconventional means to read artworks, and described how roofing techniques opened up new ways of making art.

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