November 15, 2013
February 15, 2014
February 26, 2014
February 14, 2014
In this lecture, titled ‘An Analog but Very Important Conversation’, Theaster Gates discusses recent work, historical moments and invented strategies related to several of his upcoming projects. The aim of the talk is to begin a public dialogue that addresses material culture, social issues and histories of spaces.
The lecture is presented as part of the 2014 deFINE ART program, 18-21 February
‘Theaster Gates: An Analog but Very Important Conversation’
SCAD Museum of Art
601 Turner Blvd
February 1, 2014
January 28, 2014
January 28, 2014
January 23, 2014
January 14, 2014
January 14, 2014
December 20, 2013
Six blocks from where I grew up, on Chicago’s South Side, the artist Theaster Gates showed me a neo-Classical ruin, a Prohibition-era bank shuttered for 33 years that I only ever registered vaguely as a part of the area’s enduring blight. “That’s my bank,” he announced with a flourish, pointing proudly to its glazed terra cotta and its ornamental eaves. Maybe it requires an artist to picture the possibilities in such a wreck, or a real estate developer to envision its promise. Gates, 40, is both at the same time, an enormous dreamer canny enough to make his outlandish ideas for the neighborhood a reality. When the bank was days from demolition, Gates spoke with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose brother, Ari, owns several Gates pieces; the city agreed to sell the abandoned building to Gates for $1, with the stipulation that he come up with the $3.7 million necessary for its renovation. A portion of that money, Gates devised, would be made from the bank’s original marble, which he cut into individual “bond certificates” engraved with an image of the building, his signature and the words “In ART We Trust.” He created 100 tablet-size bonds, selling them for $5,000 apiece; larger slabs, as weighty as tombstones, went for $50,000. Because they’re works of art, Gates told me, the marble will actually increase in value, functioning like real bonds. “So, yeah, it’s a bank! The bank should continue to make currency. I want it to have a banking function.”
Read more at nytimes.com
December 12, 2013
With the breathtaking Control Room(all works 2013), what will come to mind first - at least for a science fiction nerd- is the bridge from Battlestar Gallactica’s eponymous spaceship. Enclosed behind a window of glass, the installation is composed of hundreds of wooden pieces, painted in mute tones of taupe and grey and resembling gas gauges, television screens, levers, telephones, switches. Behind every system that we have come to rely on (a steady water supply, waste management, the servers that store our email), along with those that we passsively accept because we think they keep us safe (drone technology, NSA spying programmes) stands such an anonyous space- an apparatus appears as inoperable as the merely symbolic shells Paine reproduces.
The fastfood counter of Carcass consists of wood so carefully carved that, for example, eveb the straw dispensers look like precious objects. The systems ebodied are dufferent than the ones in Control Rooom. Here we confront the subsided farmers and coporations that engineer our food, and who are connected to the advertising firms that rely on poverty and poor education to sell their products, and to the healthcare system that makes money off the damage done to our bodies. In essence, it’s a system that fucks us. But fast food easily stands in as well for fast fashion, ever-upgraded smartphones, McMansions- all ultimately intended-to-be-obsolete products that embody America’s voracious appetite for instsant gratification.
There’s a brilliance to how much can be addressed by two wooden dioramas. But there’s also something missing. What Paine fails to address is the system that the artworks enter by their very presence in an art gallery. The monied one that drives the top of the food chain, and which benefits the most from a smoothly running and little-questioned apparatus. Brienne Walsh
December 14, 2013
In the past, Mr. Reeder has favored clunky, seemingly naïve figurative images that veer between cartooning and Picasso. Lately however, he seems to have moved into a late modernist-Conceptual phase, using pasta to make big, allover (Pollock-like) abstractions and smaller (Ruscha-like) word paintings.
The abstractions are achieved by scattering uncooked (and in one case cooked) spaghetti over a canvas and adding a thin layer of yellow-green, light blue, turquoise blue, charcoal or black spray paint. Usually he rescatters the pasta and sprays again, for a blurred effect that adds more depth and a weird sense of movement (call it performative or Futurist, as you will).
In the word paintings the palette brightens to include pinks and oranges. Here uncooked spaghetti of different widths spells odd phrases of two four-letter words: “Post-Good,” “Idea Jail” and “Word Jazz.” The letters change in font, dimensionality and perspective from painting to painting. Shadows are occasionally evoked and, in “Dark Math,” Old German script is even broached. Which is to say that these works become more complicated as you think through each one. A series of sculptures are a little too jokey, but two paintings mimicking blackboards show off Mr. Reeder’s satirical gifts. This show is surreptitiously very good.
December 12, 2013
Control Room offers an ominous, towering panel of dials, screens, and switches carved out of maple and birch wood and painted in bleak, flat shades of taupe and oil-tanker gray. Carcass, also made of birch and maple, is left unpainted, and its title evokes the stripped-down naturalness of the installation, but also the smell of leftover meat. Fryers, baskets, registers, signs—all are represented in the glowing purity of natural wood, while the clean orderliness of the materials clashes with the greasy, sticky reality of a White Castle.
Paine’s enchantment with the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, the soft beauty and patina that can only be found in nature and which is activated by time, is a driving force behind these quiet, elegant iterations of banal, culturally dim environments. The historically objectifying mechanism of the diorama also relays a sense of private romance—a cinematic isolation that counteracts the sterility of both works. Viewers peering through large windows experience the rooms visually rather than physically, interpreting foreign, uninhabited versions of spaces we know to be powered by electricity and operated by people. Lifeless and nonfunctional, they exist as carbon copies of reality—an embodiment of Foucault’s dispositif that distinguishes what we know from what is real.
— Anne Prentnieks
February 21, 2014
January 8, 2014
February 18, 2014
November 6, 2013
November 8, 2013
November 13, 2013