Contact: Cara Egan,
SAM Public Relations
SAM HONORS THEASTER GATES AS THE 2011-2012 GWENDOLYN KNIGHT AND JACOB LAWRENCE FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENT
Gates will receive $10,000 award, along with a solo exhibition at SAM
SEATTLE, March 21, 2011 – Seattle Art Museum (SAM) announces the selection of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates as the 2011-2012 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellow. Gates will be honored with a $10,000 award to further his artistic practice and his work will be featured in a solo exhibition in SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery December 11, 2011-July 1, 2012.
With a background in urban planning and religious studies, Gates’ work explores the ways history, place and performance intersect. Gates wears many hats, including cultural producer, activist and performer. His past site-specific installations have employed what he terms “critique through collaboration.” For instance, in a recent installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the artist transformed the museum’s sculpture court with spare, architectural forms fabricated from recycled wood, calling on his interest in Eastern philosophy and art. Gates then invited a number of collaborators, including historians, artists, and street musicians, to add to the space their own “commentary, bling, and acts of sincerity.”
Incorporating a vast array of issues, ideas and disciplines, Gates’ solo show at SAM will transform the gallery with cultural ephemera. Coupled with objects and architectural elements that elicit stories through every day practices, the backbone of the installation will be a collection of vinyl records from that reflect cultural and social currents on the 60s, 70s and 80’s.
SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship is awarded bi-annually to an early career black artist – an individual who has been producing mature work for less than 10 years. The fellowship was created to provide inspiration for young artists and scholarship in the field of art history, especially as it pertains to the artistic and cultural life of black artists, both of which were important to Knight and Lawrence. Funding for the fellowship is provided by the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Endowment.
In selecting artists to receive the fellowship, emphasis is placed on individuals whose original work reflects the Lawrences’ concern for artistic excellence, education, mentorship and scholarship within the cultural contexts and value systems that informed their work and the work of other artists of color.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
A visual artist and urban planner, Gates is currently the Director of Arts Programming and Lecturer in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. His creative practice encompasses a broad range of topics including installation, site specificity, appropriation and master planning as an arts engagement tool.
He has recently shown in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, the Pulitzer Foundation for Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Museum for Contemporary Craft, Portland.
THEASTER GATES: DECEMBER 11, 2011-JULY 1, 2012
Theaster Gates’ solo exhibition at SAM is curated by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Adjunct Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art /Kayla Skinner Deputy Director of Education and Public Programs at SAM.
THE GWENDOLYN KNIGHT AND JACOB LAWRENCE GALLERY
The Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Gallery honors the legacy of these two renowned artists, their contributions to the artistic landscape and their support of the Seattle Art Museum. The gallery features installations highlighting the work of the Lawrences, artists with similar interests and contemporary artists of color.
Theaster Gates is a recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship. Funding for the fellowship and exhibition is provided by the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Endowment.
This exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum. Generous support provided by Bill and Ruth True and the University of Washington College of Built Environment. Additional support provided by contributors to the Annual Fund.