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Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Ocula Conversation Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Tessa Moldan, Brussels

With Monsoon Melody on view at WIELS, Brussels, her largest solo exhibition to date, Thao Nguyen Phan discusses her transition to film to explore colonial legacies and ecological destruction in Vietnam.

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Frieze Los Angeles: Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Los Angeles: Shows to See Tessa Moldan, Los Angeles

Los Angeles' art scene has a lot to offer during Frieze Los Angeles, with galleries, non-profits, and museums gearing up for the fair's second edition between 14 and 17 February 2020. In this Ocula Lowdown, Tessa Moldan lists a selection of the city's must-see shows.

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Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Ocula Insight Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Apoorva Rajagopal, Dublin

Ack Ro' , Jaki Irvine's reflection on the fragility of life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, is an 'ambitious, holistic installation' staged like a 'wild disarray of interconnected yet fragmented pieces'.

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HomePage Artists

b. 1973, USA

Theaster Gates Biography

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.

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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

Theaster Gates Featured Artworks

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

Theaster Gates 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

Theaster Gates Represented By

Theaster Gates In Ocula Magazine

EXPO Chicago Sets the Scene for 2020 Ocula Report EXPO Chicago Sets the Scene for 2020 Stephanie Bailey, Chicago

'Where Will You Be in 1933?' was the official song of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair—a buoyant ditty written in 1932 to promote an exposition celebrating Chicago's centennial during the Great Depression. On 18 September 2019, it was performed at the Chicago Symphony Center as part of Samson Young: World Fair Music . The performance extended...

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Theaster Gates Ocula Conversation Theaster Gates Stephanie Bailey, Hong Kong

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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Theaster Gates 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 10 September 2019, Hyperallergic

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...

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

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 4 June 2019, The Art Newspaper

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 27 May 2019, Berlin Art Link

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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Theaster Gates In Video & Audio

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

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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