Theaster Gates

Department of Visual Arts and the College

Theaster Gates is an artist and innovator who combines strategies of urban planning, object making, and performance. He is recognized for his work on the South Side of Chicago, including Dorchester Projects, Black Cinema House, and the upcoming Stony Island Arts Bank and Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative. Founder of the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation, Gates does work in museums and communities that responds creatively to the challenges of space.

In 2013, Gates opened the University’s Arts Incubator in Washington Park, a renovated building that is now home to artist residencies, a design apprenticeship program, exhibitions, performances, and talks. In addition to the engagement work that defines his creative practice, he will lead a team of social scientists, architects, business leaders, and creative professionals in an urban research initiative known as the Place Project. With support from the Knight Foundation, Gates and his team will create a framework for reimagining the role that culture plays in the redevelopment of transforming African American communities.

A former Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has exhibited and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany.

Gates joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2014.

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