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9 Artist-Run Restaurants You Need to Know
"In the fall of 1971, the doors of a curious restaurant located at 127 Prince Street opened just south of New York’s Houston Street. Inside, if you were hungry, an artist might ladle you a steaming bowl of caldo gallego from one of three large cauldrons bubbling away over a low stove in the center of the room. Soup in hand, you’d make your way to a table where slices of bread were stacked around a huge heap of butter. Come another night and you might’ve been served the now-famous “bone dinner”—frogs’ legs and roasted marrow bones, among other skeletal dishes—then left with the remnants, rigorously cleaned and given a second life as wearable jewelry.

This was the restaurant and conceptual art project Food, run by artists Carol Goodden, Tina Girouard, and Gordon Matta-Clark, among others. Given a mini-retrospective at Frieze New York’s 2013 fair, involving several of the original chefs, the short-lived project has secured its place as one of the most iconic blurrings of the lines between art and food. The 1970s Soho establishment is far from the only artistic foray into the culinary realm, however, so we checked in on a handful that have been around for years, and a few others that are still taking shape.

Zagreus Projekt
ULRICH KRAUSS
BERLIN

“Food and art were the two elements in my life that were always there,” explains Ulrich Krauss, the founder of the Berlin food project space Zagreus Projekt. “I grew up in a butcher shop and I studied art.” He went on to apprentice as a chef, spending time cooking at a fancy hotel in southern Germany. “When you are in that world, it is so restricted, and you have rules for everything,” Krauss says. “It’s a very narrow world, so I got the feeling I had to escape from that.” Krauss left for Berlin, where he balanced artmaking—mostly performances—with cooking in restaurants. “I have to found a place where I bring things together,” he remembers thinking of his double life. Zagreus Projekt took shape.

Its first iteration found a home in the backroom of Galerie Markus Richter, a space for conceptual and minimal art that shuttered in 2005. Since then, Zagreus Projekt, which Krauss is careful to point out is not a gallery, has relocated to the elegant Mitte district. Artists bring ideas for exhibitions that in some way relate back to food, and a collaboration ensues to devise a menu that matches. FOOD ART, a collaboration that launches April 8th, pairs the talents of the artist-turned-chef with a Swiss-German artist couple, Hendrikje Kühne and Beat Klein, who make elaborate, three-dimensional collage sculptures, often including images of food and fragments of advertising and newspapers. “With every exhibition we do here, we have a different point of view on food or on the situation of eating, and that is the most important thing,” Krauss explains. But the demands of the project, 16 years on, are not without their toll. “I don’t see myself as an artist anymore,” says Krauss. “I see myself as a chef.”

Pharmacy 2
DAMIEN HIRST
NEWPORT STREET GALLERY, LONDON

Damien Hirst, dispenser of hand-painted pills and shark vitrines, blends two environments to unusual effect in his newest restaurant endeavor, Pharmacy 2, which opened at his Newport Street Gallery several weeks ago. After taking in vibrant work by John Hoyland, one of Britain’s key abstract painters, a Hirst devotee can round out the experience in the new spot. Uniquely crafted pills dot the marble floor, and a clinically cool neon sign that reads “prescriptions” hangs over the bar in view of works from Hirst’s “Medicine Cabinets” and “Kaleidescope paintings.”

Diners enjoy chef-collaborator Mark Hix’s cooking, which eschews pharmaceuticals for fresh ingredients and a British-inflected menu of European classics, including crispy squid with green chilis or Hix’s riff on the traditional German apples-and-potatoes side “Heaven and Earth.” “Damien designed a formaldehyde ‘Cock and Bull’ for my restaurant Tramshed, so it makes sense for me to exchange my skills,” the chef explains.

[restaurant not yet named]
RAPHAEL LYON
NEW YORK

“There is a long-running joke in the food industry that most artists are unrealized chefs,” the artist Raphael Lyon, who grows sculptures using geologic processes, tells me. “Which is just a way of saying that huge numbers of self-identified artists may have turned to art only because they wanted to be respected for working creatively with their hands, and that maybe they would have been more fulfilled in a kitchen rather than a studio.” Together with partner Arley Marks, Lyon is opening a restaurant off the Jefferson Street stop of New York City’s L train in the coming weeks. He also owns Enlightenment Wines, where he works as a “mazer,” fermenting honey and herbs into a wine-like beverage. “This will be something like a public home for that research,” he explains.

Lyon also hopes it will be “a place of sincere curiosity—whether it’s for a dry mead made out of Christmas trees and gold flake or just rethinking the pickled egg.” The artist’s deep knowledge of food and wine yields unusual revelations. “What interests me about winemaking, and more generally the American food scene writ large, is how until very recently discourse around it was obsessed with really awkward notions of authenticity,” Lyon observes. He suggests there’s a link between this approach to thinking about food and how people talked about European painting before Modernism. “A good part of the development of art in the last century was a move away from validity based on authentic regional expression to validity based on ideas,” he continues. “That’s happening in the food world, particularly in New York.”

ZAX Restaurant
WILL STEWART
BROOKLYN

“Generally, the stereotype of ‘starving artist’ isn’t far off the mark in New York,” says Will Stewart, an artist in the city whose work engages the environment and the architecture of space. “You’ve got people living in strange shared spaces, and everybody’s out running around every night doing something.” It’s a city that Stewart thinks “operates as a pressure cooker.” A year and a half ago, he started wondering about setting up a makeshift restaurant. “There’re how many hundreds of thousands of people?” Stewart says, retracing the thoughts that led him to set up ZAX—his fixed-price, vegetarian-only supper club in a vacant space adjacent to his studio. “There will always be at least 20 people who are going to want to come by and have dinner.”

ZAX’s December “Fertility Meal,” put together by artists/guest chefs Maia Ruth Lee and Violet Dennison, included “Estrogen Seeds” (an appetizer made with anise and sugar crystals) and “New Mother Nourishment Soup” (seaweed, daikon, enoki mushrooms, shishito peppers, miso, and fingerling potatoes), among other peculiar dishes and libations. For a few extra dollars, heat acupuncture was also part of the meal. Though Stewart has put his restaurant-in-a-studio on hold, he plans to bring it back in Greenpoint sometime in April.

Conflict Kitchen
DAWN WELESKI & JON RUBIN
PITTSBURGH

“What you choose to eat every day is a creative moment,” says Dawn Weleski, who, together with Jon Rubin, directs the Pittsburgh eatery Conflict Kitchen. “We provide an outlet for that creative expression.” The two artists work to address thorny social issues through food. “We were always thinking about how to re-envision the city, how to make it the city we wanted to live in,” Weleski, a Pittsburgh native, observes.

A simple but powerful premise guides their restaurant: Serve cuisines from countries with which the United States is in conflict. In its six years of operation, hungry residents who might not have given much thought to the social implications of U.S. foreign policy have filled up on Afghan, Cuban, Venezuelan, Palestinian, North Korean, and, most recently, Iranian cuisine. “We were trying to think of ways with which to engage the politics of the city, and to get people to have conversations in public spaces that weren’t typically had in Pittsburgh, let alone in the rest of America,” Weleski explains.

Currency Exchange Café
THEASTER GATES
CHICAGO

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment at which Theaster Gates’s expansive approach to artmaking came to include food. One starting point was the artist’s frequent dinners, at which guests ate soul food while discussing its origins and cultural importance. Another was getting the Currency Exchange Café, decorated with materials salvaged from the currency exchange that used to occupy the space, off the ground serving breakfast and lunch to residents of Chicago’s south side Washington Park neighborhood (ample shelves stocked with books line the walls and there are plans for a 35mm slide collection). With projects like these as well as the establishment of his Rebuild Foundation behind him, Gates is at work on ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, taking shape just across the border in Gary, Indiana.

The project joins the Gary barbecue-and-soul-food fixture Mama Pearl’s, which is and will remain in the space, as a tenant in a large building being transformed into a multi-use facility boasting a commercial kitchen for training, an incubator for culinary businesses, a pop-up café with a menu that changes based on input from incubator participants, and even an exhibition space for art. The ambitious project is sewing the first seeds of what the rustbelt city hopes will be a leap toward fostering a cultural district, bringing to its residents a place where they can come together over a meal and admire the many talents of their neighbors.

Thank You For Coming
LAURA NOGUERA, JONATHAN ROBERT, JENN SU TAOHAN, AND CYNTHIA SU TAOPIN
LOS ANGELES

Thank You For Coming is an experimental space that pairs a permanent restaurant serving simple weekend brunches with a series of creative residencies, as well as playing host… [more]
berlin  losangeles  sanfrancisco  art  artists  coffee  food  restaurants  gordonmatta-clark  2016  london  nyc  brooklyn  chicago  pittsburgh  brettwalker  lauranoguera  jonathanrobert  jennsutaohan  cynthiasutaopin  theastergates  dawnweleski  jonrubin  conflictkitchen  willstewart  raphaellyon  damienhirst  ulrichkrauss  127princestreet  carolgoodden  tinagirouard  cafes  openstudioproject  coffeeshops  matta-clark 
may 2017 by robertogreco
No. 225: Helen Molesworth, Jennifer Raab | The Modern Art Notes Podcast
"Episode No. 225 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator Helen Molesworth and art historian Jennifer Raab.

Molesworth’s “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957” is on view at the Hammer Museum through May 15. It is the first exhibition to examine Black Mountain College, an experimental, inter-disciplinary and immensely influential liberal arts college in the mountains of western North Carolina. The school attracted faculty and students from all over the world at a time when World War II was forcing significant global emigration, and thus provided a place where questions of globalism and the role of the artist in society were considered and furthered. Among the artists who spent time at Black Mountain and who are included in Molesworth’s exhibition are Ruth Asawa, Willem de Kooning, Josef and Anni Albers, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson, Jess and plenty more. Ninety artists are included in Molesworth’s show. The show’s outstanding, must-own catalogue was published by Yale University Press.

Molesworth is the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her previous exhibitions include “This Will Have Been,” which examined the impact of feminism on the art of the 1980s, and “Work Ethic,” which looked at how mostly 1960s artists merged everyday life with art-making.

On the second segment, art historian Jennifer Raab discusses her new book, “Frederic Church: The Art and Science of Detail.” The book examines how and why Church used unusually detailed passages in enormous paintings to engage contemporary debates about Union, nation and science. Raab teaches at Yale University."

[Direct link to SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/manpodcast/ep225 ]
helenmolesworth  jenniferraab  leapbeforeyoulook  bmc  blackmountaincollege  2016  art  curation  history  education  artseducation  liberalarts  diversity  highered  highereducation  progressive  progressiveeducation  learning  howwelearn  pedagogy  teaching  howeteach  inquiry  modernism  postmodernism  form  process  materials  via:jarrettfuller  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  collaboration  disciplines  ruthasawa  mercecunningham  josefalbers  theastergates  rebuildfoundation  lowresidencymfas  bardcollege  oberlincollege  vermontcollege  bhqfu  noahdavis  undergroundmuseum  mountainschoolofarts  andreazittel  greggbordowitz  artinstituteofchicago 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Place Lab
"A catalyst for mindful urban transformation and creative redevelopment for equitable and livable cities.

Place Lab is a team of professionals from the diverse fields of law, urban planning, architecture, design, social work, arts administration, and gender and cultural studies. The think tank is a partnership between Arts + Public Life, an initiative of UChicago Arts, and the Harris School of Public Policy. Led by renowned artist and University of Chicago faculty member Theaster Gates, this joint enterprise merges Chicago Harris’ Cultural Policy Center’s commitment to cultural policy and evidence-based analysis with Place Lab’s work at Arts + Public Life on arts- and culture-led neighborhood transformation.

Over the course of three years, the team works to document and demonstrate urban ethical redevelopment strategies initiated through arts and culture. Place Lab is based in Chicago, extending much of the team’s project management, design, programming, real estate, community building, and documentation acumen towards advancing arts and culture place-based projects on the mid-South Side of Chicago.

Place Lab observes the spaces that Gates reimagines, supports their programmatic activation, captures methods, and shares findings with the partnering demonstration cities of Gary, Akron, Detroit, and other Knight Communities. This work situates artists and creatives in conversations about the urban context. To effectuate policy change, Place Lab amplifies artistic innovators as civic leaders. In order for cities to develop in mindful and equitable ways, artists must be integrated into shaping neighborhoods and public spaces."
placelab  chicago  theastergates  urban  urbanism  architecture  urbanplanning  socialwork  art  arts  culture  cities  redevelopment  gary  detroit  akron  ohio  michigan  indiana 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Chicago artist Theaster Gates: 'I’m hoping Swiss bankers will bail out my flooded South Side bank in the name of art' | Art and design | The Guardian
"When artist Theaster Gates transformed a house on Chicago’s derelict South Side into an artwork open to the community, it was just the beginning. Meet the ‘poster boy for socially engaged art’"



"Over the seven years since, Gates has used the same principle – buying and stripping out properties in his neighbourhood, a mile or two south of the university but a different world entirely, remaking some of the scrap as art, selling it, and buying more property to create community spaces and houses for local artists and others. In 2011 he made a series of beautiful textured canvases covered in spectrums or coils of reclaimed fire hoses, called them In the Event of a Race Riot. One set recently sold at Christie’s for £250,000. Always channelling the money back into the “Dorchester Projects”, he is inexorably remodelling his entire neighbourhood which had previously been hollowed out for two or three decades by poverty and crime. Gates now employs and houses 60 “artists and makers”, and his practice is expanding to other cities in the American rust belt – St Louis, Missouri; Akron, Ohio; Gary, Indiana. His ambition is growing too. Two years ago he saved from demolition a bank building, with classical portico and marble interior, the last civic building standing on Stony Island Avenue, the main drag two blocks from his home. The bank was flooded out and long-abandoned. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, and Gates’s most reliable patron, sold it to him for a dollar, on the basis that the artist would raise the money to renovate it. To this end Gates has created bonds from the marble tiles of the bank’s former urinals – readymades, indeed – inscribed, “In art we trust”. He has sold 100 of them for $5,000 each to get the renovation started. In the kind of neat reversal he lives for, he plans to sell more of his urinal bonds to collectors at the forthcoming Basel art fair. “I’m hoping Swiss bankers will bail out my flooded South Side bank in the name of art,” he says, with a broad grin.

Gates is telling me some of this in the self-renovated shell of a corner house in which he lives alone, on Dorchester Avenue, over the road from the Listening Room (the ground floor is another venue, the Black Cinema House). He is an energising presence, precise in his movements, comfortable in his skin. In conversation he slides easily between registers, from knowing bursts of street slang to situationist theory – references to “French cats like Guy Debord” – always thoughtful but never quite in earnest. His voice is rich in cadence; occasionally he will burst into song. When I ask him about The Wire at one point, he suggests he is more of a Downton Abbey obsessive. If he were a superhero, he intones in a sudden surprising tenor, he would be the Unknown Craftsman, “You know! Mask and cape, making anony-mous artistic inter-ventions, chang-ing the cit-y for-eeever.”

Gates is 41. This week he has new work – painting and pottery – filling the hangar-like White Cube gallery in Bermondsey in south London. He is planning another large-scale show at the Venice Biennale, which may include his playful Zen-gospel band, the Black Monks of Mississippi, among other things (at 13, Gates was director of his church’s gospel youth choir). Earlier this year he was awarded the prestigious Artes Mundi prize in Cardiff and shared the £40,000 with his fellow nominees."



"He takes me to his latest project, a three-acre site with a disused power station at its centre. He has piled up all the limestone from a church that was pulled down by a developer. “It will be a green space with a large sculptural work running through it,” he says. “We call it the monastery. These materials were around and we could get them. We will find out what works here.”

Is there no real limit to the scale of his projects?

“That’s the thing. I mean it feels like a philosophy more than a commitment to a set of things. And philosophy can exist at any scale.”

What if people here feel it is not for them?

“Well, every day we are in conversation with our neighbours. Some people are excited about it, others are maybe just glad something is happening to all the waste land. And others just assume I am a front for some corporation.”

Gates’s studio and workshop is in a disused Anheuser-Busch distribution plant that he restored with his team of makers. There is a wood shop and a metal shop. He recently did a deal for the entire contents of a hardware store that was closing down – the old cabinets full of tools and nails and drill bits line the walls. (“When my guys saw all this stuff they got real horny.”) One warehouse space houses some of his major works, some firehose pieces, his remade scrap-wood market carts and trolleys, everything carefully thought out, honestly built, including the room itself. “I have three great wood guys on my team. They are incredibly sensitive in the way they handle materials,” Gates says. “They don’t like making things that are half-assed.”

Walking round the workshop, with its emphasis on the handmade – its implicit refusal of the new digital world order – it feels like a very modern medieval guild. Like something William Morris would have approved of. Does Gates see it in those terms?

“I think, as William Morris realised, as new power structures emerged, some things were being lost for ever. I am into that. I’d rather have a communal cinematheque than Netflix, so I’ll make one. The people I work with, they love each other now. They are like family. All of the scales are exciting for me, from wanting to make a pot to getting 60 people to make something well. It’s the same feeling. We believe in the things we make.”"

[See also: “Nuts, bolts and art: the man who turned a hardware store into hard cash: Theaster Gates wants to make the world a better place, so he transforms everyday objects – from old basketball courts to the entire contents of the shop he just bought – into art to raise funds for his community projects in rundown Chicago”
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/apr/28/theaster-gates-freedom-of-assembly-white-cube-london-review ]
theastergates  art  redevelopment  socialpracticeart  2015  chicago 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates: How to revive a neighborhood: with imagination, beauty and art | Talk Video | TED.com
"Theaster Gates, a potter by training and a social activist by calling, wanted to do something about the sorry state of his neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. So he did, transforming abandoned buildings to create community hubs that connect and inspire those who still live there (and draw in those who don't). In this passionate talk, Gates describes his efforts to build a "miniature Versailles" in Chicago, and he shares his fervent belief that culture can be a catalyst for social transformation in any city, anywhere."
theastergates  chicago  community  housing  reclamation  redevelopment  art  ceramics  2015  urban  urbanism  cities  socialactivism  activism 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates Sessions now posted onto New School’s YouTube channel
"as promised, we finally got all of the clearances to post the sessions and forums pertaining to Theaster Gates’ residency.

Here is a short Highlight clip: http://youtu.be/xCnDtYMuAUw

And here are the remaining YouTube links:

Session 1 – http://youtu.be/ZtQVNsy2630
Session 2 – http://youtu.be/tyiEaQex4XA
Session 3 – http://youtu.be/BvCO1ybgZ-Q
Session 4 – http://youtu.be/PFrEWOKTGdA

Day 2, Part 1 – http://youtu.be/jtEcOg8ciIU
Day 2, Part 2 – http://youtu.be/NxmDSAumvqQ "
theastergates  shannonmattern  2013  art  community  rehabilitation  arts  chicago  urban  urbanism  migration  socialpracticeart  spirituality  belief  howwework 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Rebuild Foundation
"Rebuild Foundation catalyzes neighborhood revitalization through artistic practices, individual empowerment and community engagement. We accomplish this by:

Activating underutilized spaces in the community with arts and cultural programming.

Providing opportunities and spaces for neighbors to come together and engage in meaningful exchanges that spark collaborative action.

Empowering artists and creative individuals to realize their potential as community change agents.

Investing in the development of the skills and talents of local residents to catalyze entrepreneurial efforts."



"Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit creative engine focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities, currently manages projects in Chicago, St. Louis and Omaha. Our programs enlist teams of artists, architects, developers, educators, community activists, and residents who work together to integrate the arts, apprenticeship trade training and creative entrepreneurship into a community-driven process of neighborhood transformation. Rebuild engages an artistic practice which uses as its medium the urban fabric of under-resourced districts, bridging the creation of art with adaptive reuse of abandoned spaces and community-driven initiatives for neighborhood revitalization.

Rebuild Foundation is the creation of Chicago native, artist, urban planner, and Wall Street Journal 2012 Innovator of the Year, Theaster Gates, Jr. who has conducted innovative renovation of unused spaces and community service activities through his art practice since 2005. Rebuild received its official 501©3 status in December 2010, and immediately continued Gates’ work leveraging creative community resources to build thriving neighborhoods. We act as a catalyst in local economies by integrating arts and cultural programming, workforce enhancement, creative entrepreneurial investment, hands-on education, and artistic intervention. Rebuild began creating cultural programming in Gates' renovated and repurposed buildings first in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Next, Rebuild established operations in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis, activating two residential spaces of Gates'. Soon after, Rebuild entered a partnership with Beyond Housing to establish a programming hub from one of their neighborhood spaces in the north St. Louis community of Pagedale. Also in 2011, Rebuild began a partnership with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha to activate a derelict bank building with renovation, arts programming, and the incubation of a local small business.

Rebuild hosted the 2012 Bruner Loeb Forum "The Art of Placemaking" conference and will break ground on the Dorchester Artist Housing Collaborative in 2013 with the Chicago Housing Authority, transforming an empty housing project into a 36-unit complex with mixed income housing and a community arts center for programming, performance, and arts exhibition.

Rebuild Foundation has received funding support from ArtPlace, Creative Capital Foundation, JB and MK Pritzker Foundation, Kanter Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, University of Chicago, and others."
chicago  art  artists  theastergates  rebuildfoundation  revitalization  community  participatory  neighborhoods  activism  collaboration  omaha  stlouis  place  placemaking 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates In the Studio | White Cube
"In this interview with Tim Marlow, Theaster Gates discusses his wide-reaching practice which focuses on “acts of transformation” – whether it be the re-activation of abandoned spaces, the transformation of disused objects or the production of objects out of clay. Gates talks about social responsibility, the manipulation of raw material and the influence of the Bauhaus on his ambitious and unconventional approach to art making."
theastergates  art  artists 
july 2014 by robertogreco
THE SOURCE | Conversations with DOUG AITKEN [Theaster Gates]
[Alternate link for video: http://www.nytimes.com/video/t-magazine/100000002652911/the-source-theaster-gates.html ]

Gates: "I have this great problem of space. When planners use words like blight and, uh, under-developed, it’s like actually what you’re talking about is available land. It’s just like no one’s really thought about it in those terms."

Aitken: "So tell us about this place that we’re in right now."

Gates: "We call this the archive house. It was just a shell of a building and I had 250, maybe 300 boxes of books in a basement. It really is an amalgam of labor over time that I think has made an amazing reading room."

Aitken: "And this kind of extends outside where I see a garden."

Gates: "I’m hoping that some of that willingness to grow things from very little will, will become hallmark to how we do things here on the block."

Aitken: "A lot of your palette and materials really is, you know, stuff that you find around you–these two by fours, this lumber, these bricks, it’s these, uh, trees have just been milled down into bark that you can put in your kiln."

Gates: "Yeah we talk about like how should these materials work? Like should we plane them, should we mill them? Should, should we sand them? And it’s not so much a story about like recycling this or that. But sometimes it’s just about what happens when you really care for the things that are in your life."

Aitken: "And when I see an exhibition of yours, you know, there’s a white wall, it’s a pristine space. It’s a gallery, it’s a museum. It’s very interesting to kind of see the isolation of the minimalism and like see this kind of like maximal landscape become very minimal."

Gates: "As artists, we’re always given the opportunity or we make the opportunity to say what a thing means. So let’s assume that the double cross in the atrium of the MCA is made from the same materials as this building right here. They function very differently in the world. Like say double cross will live in museums my–is my hope.

Gates: "At the same time, 6901, the building across the street where the guts of that building had in fact made double cross, that it gets to live here, a most excellent building that continues to function for our neighborhood. And I love that the same materials could do either work. It could either let you sit down and watch a good film or it, can help you imagine the sacredness."

Aitken: "So I, I want to come back to something else which I’m super curious about–performance."

Gates: "Yeah."

Aitken: "Yeah. Something's brewing inside."

Gates: "So the monks, which is a combination of great jazz musicians, some gospel players, some great classically trained and soul singers mashed up to, to reflect on the history of black music and to also slow that down so that instead of the whole song we would concentrate on a phrase and then in mantra style work it out."

Gates: "So if I’m thinking about clay and I’m making a pot but it–that’s one thing–but if I sang, I was born with clay in my veins, that turns into I was born with clay–you know, and it, and it’s like let’s just stay there. Let’s just stay there, let’s stay there all night, you know?

Gates: "And then I, I look at them, I’m not–I’m not an object. And they do something and it makes me do something else that makes them do something else. That’s a freaking good connection."
theastergates  dougaitken  2014  urbanism  urban  blight  development  space  cities  archives  art  glvo  houses  collections  reuse  recycling  caring  objects  materials  performance  music  jazz  via:soulellis  place  process  patterns  archivehouse 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Chicago’s Opportunity Artist - NYTimes.com
"Six years ago, when he could barely afford his car and house payments, Gates self-financed his first solo art exhibition, holding it at a local community-arts center. Centered on a series of soul-food dinners that he served with the exacting rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony, the show also involved an elaborate ruse about a Japanese potter Gates invented; he even hired an actor to portray the fictional sculptor’s son. At that stage in his career, Gates says, he felt the need to construct a fake potter to cope with his own marginality as an artist. But in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago picked him for its emerging-artists show, and a year later he was given the sculpture court at the Whitney Biennial. In the courtyard, Gates placed thronelike shoeshine stands and stacked shelving of wood pulled from an old Wrigley’s chewing-gum factory in Chicago; his musical troupe, the Black Monks of Mississippi, performed at the museum. Around that time he also began working with decommissioned fire hoses from the 1960s. He coiled them like bull’s-eyes inside glass vitrines and frames of wood taken from his Dorchester houses (the Brooklyn Museum of Art owns one, titled “In the Event of Race Riot II . . .”) or cutting them into strips and laying the material with its faded hues side by side, like an illusive stripe painting (the Whitney is in the process of acquiring one of these). His first major show, at Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery, included the fire hoses and other formal objects extracted from the demolitions and rebuilds on Dorchester. Everything sold.

Gates used the earnings to continue to restore one of the Dorchester buildings. Remarkably, he managed to fashion a kind of circular economy whereby his urban interventions were being financed by the sale of artworks created from the materials salvaged from the interventions. Kavi Gupta, whose gallery continues to represent Gates, brought some of the city’s wealthiest art collectors to Dorchester, where they fell under Gates’s spell. Not only did they buy his work, but they also asked how their foundations could support his larger enterprise. Well, Gates told them, this building does need a new heating-and-cooling system. Gupta says a check was written, the HVAC purchased soon thereafter.

Gates now owns 12 properties in the vicinity of his home. Rebuild Foundation, the nonprofit he created to run Dorchester Projects, teaches video production at the nearby middle school and sewing and design for local kids. It has begun work in Omaha and St. Louis as well, transforming properties there into community-art spaces. Gates is still full time at the University of Chicago, currently as the director of Arts and Public Life, heading an arts incubator that the university opened this year in the poor black neighborhood outside its traditional western boundary. Additionally, Gates’s nonprofit and a private development company are turning a shuttered public-housing project near Dorchester Projects into a 32-unit mixed-income complex. Starting next year, it will become home both to low-income families and to emerging artists who will do the programming at its on-site art center. Richard Sciortino, one of the development company’s owners, believes that this concept of the public-housing artist colony is something that can work elsewhere, and he and Gates are already looking into converting a couple of other housing projects on the East Coast.

If all this weren’t enough, Gates is also creating two works of art for a renovated Chicago Transit Authority train station on the South Side. For the bricks he hopes to use in his $1.3 million project, Gates plans to build an actual brick factory next to his studio. He says he will then bid on other brick contracts and also have this “most useful modular material” on hand for other artworks. Moreover, “the making of the bricks will off-heat, and that heat will be used to dry ash trees I get from the Chicago Park District,” he explained. “And we will have a full milling operation. And then the sawdust from the ash trees, we will turn that into a wooden pellet, like a fuel, and then that will feed my wood-fire kiln that makes pots.”

It sounds far-fetched. But so did almost everything else he ultimately brought to life. “Theaster offers what the art world is desperate for — vision,” says Romi Crawford, a professor of visual and critical studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “That visionary aspect of what he does is wildly appealing.” I even heard Gates discussing the idea of erecting a planetarium on Dorchester and reaching out to George Lucas to help finance it."
theastergates  2014  chicago  art  socialpractice  socialpracticeart  cities  urban  urbanism  rebuildfoundation  activism 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Try A Little Tenderness | Life + Times
"A house is only as sturdy as its foundation; a community as strong as its members. Taking this to heart, artist Theaster Gates has revitalized an abandoned house in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of South Side, Chicago and turned it into a flourishing neighborhood-based arts project. Here, Life+Times takes a tour of the space and meets its members."
lcproject  communities  community  towatch  chicago  art  theastergates 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates
"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."
placemaking  culture  installation  space  place  lcproject  restoration  performance  chicago  urbaninterventions  glvo  theastergates  urbanplanning  urbanism  urban  art 
december 2011 by robertogreco

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