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Theaster Gates
(b. 1963)

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Theaster Gates’ calls himself a potter. The internet calls him a social practice installation artist. In truth, he is many things – an urban planner, activist, university professor, musician, real estate developer, cultural worker, and much else besides. In pottery, a medium with which he is well-versed, he finds a simile to describe all his interests – creating things of value from metaphorical mud. “As a potter,” Gates says, “you learn how to shape the world.” To this end, the artist salvages materials for his projects, both artistic and social (the two frequently coincide) – abandoned buildings, disused fire hoses, junk shop furniture, back-issues of magazines. In returning to these forgotten places and objects a studied attention – in creating something new – Gates explores their resonance as social and historical artefacts. Among his most ambitious works is the Rebuild Foundation, a platform that supports cultural development and community transformation in the underserved neighbourhood of Greater Grand Crossing, South Chicago.


Appears in:
– Exhibition Name Here
– Project Title One

Other media:
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Artworks: 
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