The challenge historically has been that when people of color organize radically ambitious, highly functional cultural institutions—the Black Panther Party, economically viable communities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, the genius organizing of the civil rights movement and the NAACP—that in each of those moments, there has been a white supremacist impulse to destroy those viable institutions. So, the question remains, how do we build cultural institutions that are allowed to thrive given the truth of institutional subjugation and individual subjugation?Theaster Gates

BLACK VESSELGates’ first solo exhibition in New York City—has been extended until early next year. See link below.


Through January 23, by appointment.


555 West 24th Street, New York City.

See Gates’ interview with Harriet Lloyd-Smith.

Theaster Gates, Black Vessel, Gagosian, New York, October 10, 2020–January 23, 2021, from top: Flag Sketch, 2020, industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper nails; Black Vessel installation views (2); Walking Prayer, 2018–20, bound embossed books and vintage Carnegie cast iron shelving; Walking Prayer (detail); Black Vessel installation views (2); Top Heavy, 2020 (detail), industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper. Photographs by Rob McKeever.

Below: Gates’ ceramics studio in Chicago, 2020 (2). Photographs by Chris Strong. All images © Theaster Gates, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.

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