Theaster Gates Explores Racial Ideologies and Western Culture in Video Work

Now available to view through Gagosian Gallery.

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Arts
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Artist and activist Theaster Gates is known for his work elevating African-American history. The Chicago-based artist, who is also a professor at the University of Chicago, mixes various mediums and practices into his art, such as ceramics and urban planning. Gates’ Art Histories similarly combines archival images and interviews into a 40-minute video work, which is now available to view in full thanks to Gagosian Gallery.

Art Histories was first shown in 2019 at the exhibition “Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall” at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. The work combines photographs of archaeological sites, 1960s-era polaroids and images of works by artists like Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso. Audio overlay includes snippets of interviews and clips of lectures on topics like modernism in art and the works of James Baldwin. “My film Art Histories is an attempt at making the philosophical and aesthetic battle evident,” Gates describes.

Last February, Prada invited Gates, along with Ava DuVernay, to co-chair its new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. The council is tasked with elevating voices of color at the Italian luxury label, through diversifying hiring and sponsoring training programs throughout the Prada offices.

Some of Gates’ recent work include an exhibition on the history of the interracial community on Maine’s Malaga island at Tate Liverpool and a showing at 2019’s Chicago Architecture Biennale.

Watch Art Histories in full at Gagosian Gallery’s website until June 12. See below a video interview with Gates as he prepares for his upcoming show at Gagosian New York this fall.

For more art news, be sure to see JR’s new Paris mural honoring George Floyd and Adama Traoré.

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