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Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates (born in Chicago, USA, in 1973) is the recipient of the 2017 Kurt Schwitters Prize of the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung and will be honoured with a ceremony and an exhibition in the Upper Collection of the Sprengel Museum Hannover in June 2018.

Gates, who achieved international acclaim with his redesign of the Huguenot House in Kassel’s Old Town at documenta 13 in 2012, has since figured at exhibitions around the world, e.g. at the National Gallery, Washington (2017), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2016) and international biennales (Venice, Istanbul and Whitney). The starting point and primary workplace of the artist who trained as a ceramic artist and urban planner remains the South Side of Chicago, where in the midst of the banking crisis in 2006 he began with the purchase and renovation of a simple bungalow in Dorchester Avenue. Since then, Gates has founded diverse foundations, such as the Dorchester Project and the Rebuild Foundation, with the help of which he has bought abandoned derelict houses, a bank building and a school and restored and repurposed them. Gates makes use of this principle of recycling materials and architecture, which has a special artistic tradition in Chicago, to revitalise a largely African-American working class district and socially and culturally invigorate its inhabitants whose middle class aspirations were abruptly stifled when Lehmann Brothers went bankrupt in 2008. At the same time, it is now part of an exemplary, artistically shaped urban development project. The activities of the qualified urban planner rooted in craft skills are targeted at cultural communities brought forth by symbolic and real acts. His art work is part of a broad spectrum of community work, performance and music. At the Sprengel Museum Hannover he is designing a chapter of the exhibition series on the Black Madonna, which will also be on show at the Kunstmuseum Basel and Haus der Kunst in Munich. For Black Madonna, Gates is evoking the history of the black woman and her historical and media contexts as well as broader Afro-American culture and politics. Objects from religious rites, statistics on the black population in the USA and archive images and materials will be coming together for the first time, like Gates’ experimental music group, The Black Monks of Mississippi, which will play on the evening of the prize-giving ceremony. In his show with neon works, assemblages and a video projection in Hannover, he is referencing selected works of the collection and working with the image archive, which he has purchased, of the Johnson Publishing Corporation, Chicago, that issued the 1950 magazines “Ebony” and “Jet”, along with other sources. The Kurt Schwitters Prize will be awarded next year for the 11th time and is endowed with 25,000 euros. Its purpose is to honour artists ‘whose work refers to Kurt Schwitters and is distinctive for venturing into new realms of artistic creativity and ideas, or whose work contributes to linking and integrating art genres’.

Event(s): 23.06.2018 to 02.09.2018
Wednesdays  Thursdays  Fridays  Saturdays  Sundays 
from 10:00 to 18:00 o'clock
23.06.2018 to 02.09.2018
from 10:00 to 20:00 o'clock

Sprengel Museum Hannover

  • Kurt-Schwitters-Platz
  • 30169 Hannover