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Theaster Gates

American  •  b. 1973

Biography

Theaster Gates has expanded the definition of what it means to be an artist. Trained in urban planning, religious studies and fine arts, Gates has developed an expanded practice that works to bridge the gap between art and life. Encompassing sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions, Gates’s practice aims to function as a catalyst for social engagement to engender political and spatial change. Gates is widely known for forming the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago as a not-for-profit engine to rebuild the cultural foundation of underinvested neighborhoods. Perhaps Gates’s most ambitious urban development project is The Dorchester Project, the transformation of an abandoned building in Chicago’s South Side into a cultural hub. Gates has described this project as “real estate art”, as part of a “circular ecological system” whereby the sale of sculptures and works of art that were created from the materials salvaged from their interior finance the renovation of the buildings.
 

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