As a sculptor, performance artist, urban planner, and founder of the Rebuild Foundation, Theaster Gates uses art and activism in equal measure to fuse the fields of urban development and contemporary art.

Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates is a sculptor, performance artist, urban planner, and musician whose work bridges contemporary art, real estate, community development, and spirituality. His cross-disciplinary performances weave musical improvisation with literary and historical reference, bringing tangible objects into critical contact with audiences that include invited art critics, gospel choirs, and even entire neighborhoods. For Cosmology of Yard (2010 Whitney Biennial), Gates invited artists, academics, and musicians to participate in ""monastic residencies"" that, in his words, added ""commentary, bling, and acts of sincerity"" to the initial structure. For his Dorchester Project Library and Archive (2009), Gates acquired an abandoned two-story house in Chicago and repurposed it into a visual literacy resource center, soul food kitchen, and site for communal art production. He recently founded the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit that buys run-down properties in Detroit, Saint Louis, and Chicago, and converts them into grassroots cultural initiatives. Gates is the Director of Arts Programming and a guest lecturer in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. He has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Detroit, and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards.

Born 1973 in Chicago, IL.
Lives and works in Chicago.