Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates work that focuses on space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” Gates smartly upturns art values, land values, and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and was a recipient of the Légion d'Honneur in 2017. He was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018, as well as the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.

Gates is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artists Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College and is recipient of Visions of the City, the Obayashi Foundation Research Program in Japan.


Los Angeles Times interview with Theaster Gates

Jan 26, 2017

Gray Center Advisory Council Member Theaster Gates interviewed in Los Angeles Times on the occasion of his recent exhibition at Regen Projects.




 Jul 31, 2020, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
 [live stream]

The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry hosts Volume 6, Part 2 of Gray Sound Sessions: Theaster Gates and special guests.



 Feb 12, 2021, 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
 Logan Center Exhibitions

915 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is pleased to partner with Logan Center Exhibitions to present Theaster Gates' and Romi Crawford's first curatorial collaboration: K. Kofi Moyo and FESTAC ’77: The Activation of a Black ArchiveThe exhibition resituates, and also finds a place for, a cache of images from the archive of Karega Kofi Moyo, a Chicago-based photographer active between 1968 and 1978, a pivotal time for Black liberation and cultural production. 



 Oct 20, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
 YouTube Livestream

Link available on Gray Center homepage in advance

Please join us for a special Sidebar conversation with artists Devin T. Mays and Caroline Kent in conversation with UChicago Professor Theaster Gates and the Gray Center's Zachary Cahill



 Dec 08, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
 Gray Center

Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, 929 E 60th Street, Chicago (Next door to the Logan Center)

As the 100th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Beuys nears its final days, we present an evening devoted to the question of Beuys and the universal—the “everyone” in Beuys’s famous and endlessly debated claim that “everyone is an artist.”