For his first major US exhibition, Theaster Gates will bring together various facets of his practice—which includes performance, installation, and archival interventions—into the space of the gallery. First trained as a ceramicist, Gates is best known for his work on Dorchester Projects, a growing neighborhood of buildings on Chicago’s South Side that the artist rehabilitated to house libraries, archives, and collections, as well as host performances and community gatherings. At the Walker, the galleries will be transformed into a gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, that transposes the artist’s immersive studio environment into the museum.
In 2017 Gates unveiled his first outdoor commission Black Vessel for a Saint (2017) in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Composed of recycled black bricks, the structure provides a permanent home for a salvaged statue of Saint Laurence, the patron saint of librarians and archivists. During the run of the exhibition Gates will activate both the indoor and outdoor spaces of the Walker.
Curator: Victoria Sung, assistant curator, Visual Arts