Art Sanctuary in partnership with Slought Foundation and Mural Arts Program presents THE BLACK CREATIVE: A public conversation with Theaster Gates and Naomi Beckwith on Friday, May 25 at 6:00pm at The University of the Arts, Caplan Center for the Performing Arts (320 South Broad Street). For tickets please visit theblackcreative.eventbrite.com.
Theaster Gates is an artist and cultural planner. In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions. Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body.
When Theaster is not making art for museums, he is committed to the restoration of poor neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raising the city’s expectations of where “place-making” happens and why.
Recently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has received awards from the Joyce Foundation, Driehaus, Artadia and the Graham Foundation. In 2010 alone, he performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show in New York; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis; and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Gates has upcoming exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum and other European Venues.
Naomi Beckwith is a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She comes to Chicago from New York, where she was associate curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she has focused on themes of identity and conceptual practices in contemporary art, artists of African descent, and managing the Artists-in-Residence program. Beckwith’s career at The Studio Museum, one of the leading black contemporary art museums in the country, began in 2007, where she worked under the guidance of titan Thelma Golden as well as also managing the Artists-in-Residence program. She is a guest blogger for Art21 at PBS.org, sits on the board of the Laundromat Project, and she has since curated and co-curated countless exhibitions at the ICA in Philadelphia as well as in New York at Cuchifritos, Artists Space and at the Studio Museum.
Beckwith received an MA with Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, completing her Master’s thesis on Adrian Piper and Carrie Mae Weems, and a BA in history from Northwestern University in Illinois. She was a 2009 grantee of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and was named the 2011 Leader to Watch by ArtTable.