Posts tagged with "Theaster Gates":

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Artist Theaster Gates helps renovate Edward Durell Stone building

After five years of planning and construction, Chicago-based architecture and planning firm Farr Associates and artist Theaster Gates have dramatically transformed a 60-year-old dormitory at the University of Chicago into a state-of-the-art research center and student hub, known as the Keller Center. Originally designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1962, the once dark and closed-off concrete structure served as the University of Chicago’s New Graduate Residence Hall. While some of Stone’s initial design was preserved—including the building’s slender columns, projecting canopy, and mid-century modern aesthetic—the addition of a glass roof and brilliant limestone facade illuminates the fully renovated interior, which is now home to the university’s Harris School of Public Policy. The design team foregrounded sustainability—the Keller Center will be the first LEED Platinum building on the University of Chicago campus and one of the first university buildings to pursue the strict Petal Certification of the Living Building Challenge—but also thought about ways to tie the new design to the building’s past, context, and community. Farr Associates salvaged as much as possible for the renovation, preserving old doors, hooks, mailboxes, mirrors, light fixtures, and shelves for the new design. Theaster Gates came up with the idea to use lumber from damaged ash wood trees that were removed from Chicago’s city parks for a main building material for the interior of the center. Gates then hired local workers to process the trees at a mill just south of the project site, where he was able to provide job training to people on Chicago’s South Side. The center also features a rainwater harvesting system, which captures water from the roof and transports it to the building’s toilets, along with rain gardens that accommodate the region’s native species. There were many design challenges associated with carving a new interior from the existing concrete skeleton of the building. For example, the structure lacked insulation, and it was riddled with columns and steel supports that could not be removed. The architects were forced to work around those structural hindrances, while trying to keep the space open and inviting. The result was a visually inspiring interior complete with shimmering, glass-walled classrooms, lounges, offices, meeting rooms, and a four-story atrium called the Harris Forum, which serves as a central collaboration space. The sun-streaked atrium, which was carefully shaped out of the existing structure, represents the heart of the Harris School, and it is home to a variety of discussions, world-class speakers, and events.
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Theaster Gates, MASS Design Group among list of Chicago Architecture Biennial contributors

Theaster Gates, MASS Design Group, Wolff Architects, as well as Forensic Architecture and Invisible Institute are among the first wave of contributors announced for this fall’s 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The show, titled ...and other such storieswill be an expansive look into global projects that delve into how architecture relates to land, memory, rights, and civic participation. The initial list of participants, announced last week, features 51 artists, collectives, architects, and researches from 19 countries—only half of the soon-to-be full lineup of participants. According to Biennial Board Chairman Jack Guthman, the international showcase will have something for everyone, designers and Chicagoans alike. “The participants who will explore the significant issues raised by our curators will both challenge and entertain the Biennial’s audiences,” he said. Artistic Director Yesomi Umolu noted the broad range of contributors have backgrounds and projects that “resonate deeply” with the four curatorial areas previously laid out by the organization: “No Land Beyond,” “Appearances and Erasures,” “Rights and Reclamations,” and “Common Ground.” Capetown-based firm Wolff Architects, as well as local Chicago artist Theaster Gates, will present “reflections on landscapes of belonging,” while CAMP from Mumbai and New York’s Center for Spatial Research will uncover the political controversies behind contested spaces of memory. RMA Architects and DAAR, the studio helmed by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, will think about how architecture can act as a site of advocacy. Lastly, Construct Lab from Berlin and Adrian Blackwell of Toronto will “explore methodologies for intervening” in public space. Works on these topics and more will allow visitors the chance to interpret their own opinions about the ways in which architects advances or inhibits global stories of culture and history. The projects will be placed in the main exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, housed in the Chicago Cultural Center. The programming also includes broader, city-wide events and talks. You can read the full list of initial participants here.
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Getty Research Institute exhibition explores the meaning of monumentality

MONUMENTality, a forthcoming exhibition organized by the Getty Research Institute (GRI) that aims to consider how the meanings of monuments can change over time and why some monuments endure while others fall, is timely if nothing else. The exhibition is set to open on December 4 and comes amid widespread social upheaval that has questioned the legitimacy of long-standing monuments, historical figures, and works of art in contemporary culture. As long-venerated American heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson see their legacies questioned, prominent entertainers and artists and their works face a reckoning in the #MeToo era, and historical monuments celebrating slavery and the American Confederacy fall across American cities, shockwaves have reverberated through society and the art world as a critical reappraisal takes place. The exhibition, which is curated by Frances Terpak, Maristella Casciato, and Katherine Rochester, seeks to take a more art history-focused approach as its curators analyze wide-reaching trends in monumental art, urban planning, architecture, land art, and other media in their search for answers to these contemporary questions. The wide-ranging exhibition investigates monumentality through several lenses and forms of being, including works generated through “systems of belief and structures of power” by showcasing historical rare books, political ephemera, photographs, and contemporary art from GRI’s collection that depict or have been inspired by monuments from antiquity to present day, according to a press release. The exhibition will feature works from many artists and designers, including: Dennis Adams, Annalisa Alloatti, Lane Barden, Mirella Bentivoglio, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Tacita Dean, Theaster Gates, Leandro Katz, Michael Light, Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, Edward Ranney, Ed Ruscha, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, and Lebbeus Woods, among others. Maristella Casciato, curator of architecture at the GRI said, “Monuments, though often meant to stand for eternity, can physically change over time—from erosion, looting, war, or iconoclasm—or they can stay intact but change in their meaning, losing context or relevance, or becoming integrated with daily life in new ways. And monuments can form organically, through the ways that people interact with the built environment.” Casciato added, “MONUMENTality investigates the ways that monuments are necessarily dynamic, ultimately reflecting, through their endurance or failure, the world around them.” The exhibition will be on view through April 21, 2019. For more information, see the exhibition website.
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Theaster Gates showcases artworks at Regen Projects in Los Angeles

Regen Projects is currently showcasing new works by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates in Los Angeles.
The exhibition, titled But To Be A Poor Race, uses painting to explore themes found within W.E.B. Du Bois's seminal book, The Souls of Black Folk. In the book, Du Bois uses essays to chronicle examples of exceptionalism within the African American community in an effort to humanize Black experiences during an era of segregation and racism. Du Bois's work is considered to be important both as a sociological exploration and a political text.
The paintings on display reinterpret statistical data presented in The Souls of Black Folk as abstract, geometric fields of color. The artist also uses sculpture—including a collection of sculptural objects, ephemera, and video artworks—to explore themes of Black experience, visual politics, and shamanism. Three of the works utilize bound copies of Jet magazines, a weekly digest focusing on important figures in the African American community that ran in print form from 1951 until 2014, to convey the lines of a long poem. Each of the works contains a stanza from the poem, with the three works arranged at eye level along the gallery walls so they can be read while walking.
In a press release for the exhibition, Gates describes the exhibition as an exploration of racialized poverty, saying, "But To Be A Poor Race questions a particular kind of poverty, one that is not just about a lack of economic capital but one that is deprived of the basic elements from which one can make a living."
In a work hearkening to contemporary political times, the exhibition also features a video titled My country tis of thee that depicts a musical performance of the song My Country 'Tis of Thee by Gates and musicians The Black Monks of Mississippi. In the video, the artists perform the patriotic song as both a sincere expression of patriotism and simultaneously as a work of satire. The exhibition is on view until February 25, 2017. For more information, see the Regen Projects website.
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Theaster Gates on his unique combination of art, architecture, and entrepreneurship

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates appeared in the Architectural League of New York’s Current Work series on November 21, which was co-sponsored by the Parsons School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. A star in the art world, Gates crosses many boundaries and disciplines, holding two degrees in urban planning, as well as ones in religion and ceramics. Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architect introduced him by saying that his life resembled a fairy tale—he’s a reverse Snow White as the only boy of 8 children, mixed with a bit of Princess and the Pea. I would venture there’s also elements of Jack and the Beanstalk, along with shape-shifter qualities. Gates has been transforming the South Side of Chicago, his home town. But it’s taken him a while to get there. After studying at Iowa State University, then living in South Africa and Japan, he returned to Chicago in 1999. After trying to get his ceramics noticed by the art establishment while doing a day job at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) commissioning public art, then working as an arts programmer at the University of Chicago (both of which he found frustrating and ineffective), he rebranded himself as a conceptual artist and began to find his voice. He started to make installations from demolition-site debris such as shoe shine stands and sell the resulting “objects.” While in school, he became aware of Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio at Auburn University. He was also impacted by what could be called its city version, Rick Lowe’s Project Row House in Houston, which cast urban renewal as an art installation. Gates looked at his Chicago neighborhood, which was suffering from unemployment, violence, abandoned buildings, and more, and began acquiring run-down buildings (at first with sub-prime loans) and turning them into cultural centers, rather than housing. Music, yoga, discussions, gospel singing, film screenings, cooking, and more, take place in these spaces. Gates has learned to turn obstacles into advantages and reframe an argument, and he now has the track record to forward his ideas and projects. He talks about “preconditions,” the ground rules required to make transformations for fusing art and architecture with activism. Success is measured by the impact on the local community. At the same time, Chicago is an architecturally aware city with shining examples from various periods. Gates has talked about viewing Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on his way to high school. On Monday night, he mused, “It’s hard not to think about Crown Hall,” the Mies van der Rohe architecture building at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), when you’re located in Chicago. When Gates showed a project he did at the OMA-designed Prada Foundation in Milan, he discussed working with this form of modernism, using the term almost as “orthodoxy.” Looking at the buildings that Gates has transformed, a modernist craft aesthetic is evident. His signature structures, under the rubric of his Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit engine intended to “rebuild the cultural foundation of underinvested neighborhoods,” are the Dorchester Projects—the Listening House, Black Cinema House, Archive House, and now Stony Island Arts Bank. These buildings are just blocks away from the upcoming Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park, to be designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, giving an extra frisson to the evening. Close proximity has given new import and financial value to Gates’s structures, and though it makes him look like a clairvoyant developer (Jackson Park won out of a rival site), the trick may have been that Gates has stayed. With his notoriety and financial security, Gates could live anywhere in the city, but he is firmly installed in the Dorchester complex where he both lives and works. Gates has exported Chicago as well. At Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, he made a splash with the Huguenot House, an abandoned building transformed with detritus from the Dorchester buildings. The house was a continual work-in-progress over the course of the art fair by Gates and his 13 colleagues from Chicago, who lived in the house, constructed installations, performed, and conversed. Afterward, Gates combined elements from the building into objects that were sold for up to $120,000 each. Similarly, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sold the 1923 Stony Island Avenue State Bank, an abandoned neoclassical structure slated for demolition, to Rebuild for $1.00 with the condition that he could raise money to renovate it, Gates took blocks of marble from the bathrooms and trim, embellished them with an acid-etched motto (“in ART we trust”), and his signature, and sold these art “bonds” at Art Basel for five thousand dollars each, raising half a million dollars. Gates now has a seat at the table. When he met with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana, only 20 miles from his South Side neighborhood, about a potential art project, he asked what she needed. She replied funds. Within six months, he raised $1.6 million from the Bloomberg and Knight foundations. This month, ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, an arts and culinary incubator, with an art gallery and pop-up cafe that will also host business workshops to support local entrepreneurs, was launched. It exemplified Gates’s ability to connect and convene. And it highlights his recasting of what it means to be an entrepreneur, which he says is the only word we have for broaching the meeting of an unemployed person and an abandoned building. Which brings us back to his consideration of “preconditions” and the ability to transform. Billie Tsien also talked about opening up a fortune cookie for lunch that day, and reading “If you can’t decide to go up or down, go from side to side.” Theaster Gates exemplifies just that.
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Theaster Gates's Rebuild Foundation launches training initiative and crafts auction

The Rebuild Foundation and its founder Theaster Gates have announced the launch of a new initiative to provide training for un- and under-employed people on the South Side of Chicago. Dorchester Industries will pair participants with Rebuild Foundation’s artists-in-residence and local tradespeople to learn new skills and create and sell art and design objects. As part of a benefit and auction for the Stony Island Arts Bank (SIAB), the programmatic center of Rebuild Foundation, Dorchester Industries’ first class of participants produced works to be sold. Under the guidance of Japanese ceramicist Koichi Ohara, the participants have produced wooden tables and Japanese-style ceramic dishware over the last month. Eight of the participants worked directly with Ohara to produce over 2,000 pieces, including soup bowls, tea bowls, and sake sets. Fifteen of these will be sold at the auction in sets packed in handcrafted boxes. Works by Theaster Gates, Anselm Kiefer, Eddie Peake, and Antony Gromley will also be part of the auction. The proceeds from the participant-produced work will go to the participants, while other money raised will go to the rebuild Foundation's exhibitions and community programs. Dorchester Industries was started as a carpentry program that sought to find sustainable uses of trees destroyed by emerald ash borer beetles in Chicago’s parks. Some of the wood from those trees was tooled into the tabletops which will be used at the auction. “It is unquestionably better to teach a person to do something than to do it for them, and that is the precept at the core of Dorchester Industries,” explained Theaster Gates. “By providing workforce training in highly employable crafts such as carpentry or pottery work, we support the people in our community in real and tangible ways while also fostering an engagement and appreciation for a variety of art forms.” The benefit and auction will also be a public preview of Glenn Licon’s A Small Band (2015) installation at the SIAB. The installation is comprised of neons spelling out “blues, bruise, and blood,” a reference to the “Harlem Six,” a group of young black men falsely accused and convicted of murder in the 1960s. Exhibitions and programming at the SIAB often “explore the representations of the black body in art.” An online portion of the benefit auction is now open through November 5th on Paddle8.
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Theaster Gates project gets $10 million to revitalize Chicago's South Side

Artist Theaster Gates is getting $10.25 million to grow a network of arts institutions on Chicago's South Side. Chicago Arts + Industry Commons (CAIC), a collaboration between Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, University of Chicago's Place Lab, and the City of Chicago, will receive $5 million from four major foundations: JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation to use the arts as a tool for neighborhood revitalization. The rest of the money will come from individuals and philanthropic organizations (contributing organizations will be announced in a few days). Ultimately, the CAIC will be self-sustaining: "[The] Chicago Arts + Industry Commons employs an evolving cultural reinvestment model that uses the revitalization of sleepy assets as part of an engine that spurs new development and new capital, a portion of which is used to support the civic commons," the project description explains. The Stony Island Arts Bank, a community hub and art center that the Rebuild Foundation opened last year, will anchor a network of design studios, an industrial arts center, and public gardens in Grand Crossing. A West Side power plant next to the Garfield Park Conservatory will be converted into Garfield Park Industrial Arts, a warren of art galleries and the industrial arts center, surrounded by an amphitheater, cafe and plaza, while a shuttered Catholic school on the South Side will host art and design studios, as well as a "design accelerator" that will offer workshops to residents, DNAinfo reports. Finally, 13 vacant lots, on Kenwood Avenue between 68th and 70th Streets, will be turned into Kenwood Gardens, a park filled with art and sculpture. Construction begins soon and programming is slated to begin late next year or early 2018.
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New arts and cultural center coming to Chicago's South Side

The University of Chicago has announced plans for a new arts and cultural center called the Arts Block. Leading the design is Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee in collaboration with community partners. The new center will be located in Washington Park along East Garfield Boulevard on the South Side of Chicago. The new Arts Block expands the university’s efforts to fill vacant buildings near campus with a mix of studios alongside performance and exhibition spaces. The Arts Block will join the Currency Exchange Café, BING Art Books, the Arts Incubator, and the Place Lab at the Green Line Arts Center. The proposed design maintains the 1920s terra-cotta facade on the building that is currently on the site. Along with the redevelopment of the Arts Block, a vacant lot in the area will be transformed into an open-air pavilion.

Chicago artist Theaster Gates, professor at the college’s Department of Visual Arts and director of Arts + Public Life, has been spearheading the efforts to transform the 100,000-square-foot development along Garfield Boulevard. 

Architect: Johnston Marklee Client: University of Chicago Location: Chicago, IL Completion Date: 2017

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Chicago Transit Authority releases latest L station renderings

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has release the final design for the currently under construction 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line L station. The complete reconstruction of the final stop on the Red Line started 2014, and is expected to be fully completed in 2018.

The Red Line is the busiest route in the L system, running 24 hours a day, from the far North to the far South Side. The $280 million project part of a much larger initiative to update many of the L stations throughout the system. The original station was designed by SOM and built in 1969. The station is a terminal for the line, with its own small yard that is being updated for ease of train movement. An integrated bus terminal is also being rebuilt with the station. Being the busiest stop on the south branch of the Red Line, the CTA has referred to the new station as the “signature” station of the L system.

Earlier conceptual designs were released to the public in 2014 for a more subdued heavily glazed station. The new renderings show bolder forms and more extensive use of bright red. The design for the station has been led by Chicago-based Exp. The station will also include at least two major public artworks. The CTA is working with Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates on the public artworks as well as community outreach throughout the project. Exp is also responsible for the design for the much anticipated Washington/Wabash L station in Chicago’s downtown Loop. The Washington/Wabash station, expected to be complete later this year, features undulating white ribbed awnings over the platforms. Announced in 2012, the stop will look particularly different than the often inconspicuous L stations in the loop. The station is expected to be complete this year. Since 2012 CTA has also announced the remodeling of multiple other stations throughout the system. The latest include the Wilson Red Line station and the Garfield Green Line station. Work on the Garfield station has just received a $15 million TIGER Grant from the federal government. The station is also notable as it sits immediately next to the Theaster Gates initiated Arts Block, which will soon include a Johnston Marklee project.
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Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative wins AIA/HUD Award

Chicago’s Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) has been awarded an AIA/HUD Secretary Award. The project was initiated by the Rebuild Foundation, an organization run by Chicago artist Theaster Gates, and Chicago-based Brinshore Development. Originally a 1980’s Chicago Housing Authority project, the Dante Harper housing project, the DA+HC is now a public/private/non-profit collaboration. Consisting of 32 units and a community arts center, the DA+HC has become a cultural hub in Chicago’s South Side Grand Crossing Neighborhood. The overhaul of the site was designed by Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker Architects. Much of the work went into restoring the deteriorated original modernist structures, as well as converting four of the housing units into a light-filled arts center. Situated at the center of the project, overlooking a landscaped courtyard, the arts center is used for everything from music and dance to fine arts and community meetings. Along with affordable and public housing DA+HC also offers arts residencies for artists. Units were rehabilitated and outfitted with energy efficient appliances and building systems. The project surpasses the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. The AIA / HUD Secretary’s Awards are a collaboration between the AIA’s Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community and the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The awards were set up to “recognize excellence in affordable, accessible, and well-designed housing.”  Projects were given awards in four categories, Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, Creating Community Connection Award, Community-Informed Design Award, Housing Accessibility.  DA+HC was awarded the Creating Community Connection Award. In the past year the DA+HC has also received other awards including the 2015 Urban Land Institute Vision Award, the Landmarks Illinois 2015 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Project of the Year, and the CNDA 2016 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation 2nd Place Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.
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Chicago's Place Lab to hold event on ethical redevelopment

In the first in a series of public events and symposia, the University of Chicago’s Place Lab will be holding a community talk about ethical redevelopment on Chicago’s South Side. Place Lab is an organization made up of professionals from law, urban planning, architecture, design, social work, arts administration, and gender and cultural studies. It is a partnership between the UChicago Art initiative Arts + Public Life and the Harris School of Public Policy. The June 22 event will include talks by artist/activist Theaster Gates, director of Place Lab, and Steve Edwards, executive director of the U. of C. Institute of Politics. Both speakers will discuss mindful development and collaboration in their work. Place Lab’s events aim to redefine city-making and question traditional modes of development. The events will also look at Gates’s success in redeveloping spaces for the local community and artists across the South Side. Gates' projects include the Stony Island Arts Bank, a “hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center.” The project redeveloped a 1923 beaux arts bank that had been abandoned in the 1980s. Another project, the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) is a redeveloped public housing campus. Thirty two town houses provide mixed-income housing for artist and community members to encourage dialog between the two groups. Place Lab was founded in 2014. It focuses on nine main principles of ethical redevelopment including: repurpose and re-purpose, engaged participation, pedagogical moments, the indeterminate, design, place over time, stack leverage and access, constellations, and platforms. Along with working on the South Side, Place Lab shares its findings with other cities including Gary, Akron, and Detroit. The first ethical redevelopment event will take place on Wednesday, June 22, Place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. The event is open and free to the public. Guests can RSVP at http://placelab.uchicago.edu/public-convenings/.
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Johnston Marklee to add to University of Chicago's Green Line Arts Center

The University of Chicago has announced plans for a new arts and cultural center called the Arts Block. The new center will be located in Washington Park along East Garfield Boulevard on the South Side of Chicago. The new Arts Block will expands the university's efforts to fill vacant buildings near campus with a mix of studios performance and exhibition spaces. The Arts Block will add to the Currency Exchange Café, BING Art Books, the Arts Incubator, and the Place Lab as art of the Green Line Arts Center. Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee will lead the design of the Arts Block in collaboration with community partners. Chicago artist Theaster Gates, professor in the Department of Visual Arts and director of Arts + Public Life, has been spearheading the efforts to transform the 100,000-square-foot development along Garfield Boulevard. “To transform a neighborhood, we have to help people believe that beautiful things can happen there. Arts and culture are some of the ways we can do that,” Gates remarked in a press release. “Investing in people’s abilities and developing space for creativity to thrive are ways we can demonstrate that belief.” Johnston Marklee was selected from a field of seven offices to redesign the new center. The eight-member jury was impressed with Johnston Marklee’s “ability to design distinctly contextual buildings housing beautiful and functional spaces using common materials in unexpected ways.” The proposed design maintains the 1920’s terra-cotta facade the building that is currently on the site. Along with the redevelopment of the Arts Block, a vacant lot in the area will be transformed into an open air pavilion. https://youtu.be/2GFSntNvW9o