Home News & Events Artist & Innovator Theaster Gates to Speak at 2020 Conference

Artist & Innovator Theaster Gates to Speak at 2020 Conference

We’re thrilled to announce that artist and social innovator Theaster Gates will be a featured speaker at the Arts Midwest + WAA 2020 Conference as part of a special conversation with Arts Midwest President & CEO Torrie Allen.

Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-­world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture, and the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development.

Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College.


Ready to dive into the full Arts Midwest + WAA 2020 Conference experience?

We know it’s not business as usual, which is why Arts Midwest and Western Arts Alliance (WAA) are joining our conferences to create an innovative four-day digital event for the performing arts field. The 2020 Conference is an opportunity for artists, managers, agents, presenters, and beyond to connect, learn, get inspired, and find a path forward.

Register Now