With a background in urban planning and religious studies, Theaster Gates’ work explores the ways history, place and performance intersect. Gates wears many hats, including cultural producer, activist and performer. His past site-specific installations have employed what he terms, “critique through collaboration.” For example, in a recent installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the artist transformed the museum’s sculpture court with spare, architectural forms fabricated from recycled wood, calling on his interest in Eastern philosophy and art. Gates then invited a number of collaborators, including historians, artists and street musicians, to add to the space their own “commentary, bling, and acts of sincerity.”
Incorporating a vast array of disciplines, Gates’ solo exhibition at SAM will transform the gallery with cultural ephemera. Coupled with objects and architectural elements that elicit stories through every day practices, the backbone of the installation will be a collection of vinyl records that reflect cultural and social currents of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Theaster Gates is the 2011–2012 recipient of the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship.
–Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Adjunct Curator and Kayla Skinner Deputy Director of Education & Public Program
SAM Blog Posts
Record Store: A Collaboration Between SAM and Olson Kundig Architects Opens Tonight
Listen: Record Store is in the Business of Ideas
Theaster Gates, Art in America Magazine
Theaster Gates: the Listening Room, The Art Newspaper
A listening party at the museum, ArtsPage
Pull up a record and listen at SAM exhibit, Seattle Times
Church of Wax, The Stranger
A Record Store Where Nothing is for Sale, The Atlantic Cities: Place Matters
Olson Kundig’s Storefront Portal, Architects + Artisans
Theaster Gates was a recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship. Funding for the fellowship and exhibition was provided by the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Endowment. This exhibition was organized by the Seattle Art Museum. Generous support provided by Bill and Ruth True and the University of Washington College of Built Environment. Additional support provided by contributors to the Annual Fund.
Dr. Wax Archive at Dorchester Projects, Chicago, 2009, Theaster Gates, Photo by Young Sun Han, Courtesy of artist and Kavi Gupta Chicago/Berlin