Awardee: Theaster Gates

Visual Arts, 2012

With masters’ degrees in both sculpture and urban planning, Theaster Gates’s work explores urban planning, public space and cultural development. Gates moves between various media and themes in his work. Through such major platforms as the Whitney Biennial, the Pulitzer Museum, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and upcoming Documenta 13 and Dorchester Projects, the artist builds upon projects previously realized in Detroit, St. Louis, North Omaha and Chicago. Gates was chosen as the commissioned artist for The Armory Show 2012. Gates is the Director of Arts and Public Life and University Artist at the University of Chicago and is also the founder of Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports the space needs of artists and cultural activation of abandoned sites.

Project: 12 Ballads for Huguenot House

12 Ballads for Huguenot House explores the relationship between social enterprise, contemporary art practices, and architectural and cultural redevelopment. Theaster Gates plans to hire and train a team of unskilled laborers to assist him in dismantling the interior of a Chicago building slated for demolition. The salvaged materials will then be used to mend a historically significant hotel known as the Huguenot House in Kassel, Germany. The materials will be integral to the design process and will result in a new venue for Documenta. This project will also serve as the foundation for a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.