Theaster Gates by Christian Viveros-Faline
Portrait by Tim Gutt
Slogging as an arts planner, not being a social worker, an artistic bridge, a powerful argument for taking advantage of market conditions
In creating an artist's redevelopment scheme fed by an entrepreneur's moxie, Gates has successfully finessed both the business of real estate and what Andy Warhol once called, in an age far more innocent than ours, 'business art'. A powerful argument for taking advantage of market conditions as well as municipal and federal housing grants - and further still, the artworld's reptilian guilt towards all things racially charged - Gates has found a breach in the system that allows him (and, therefore, others) to use art's freedom and leverage to break through haute culture's social cliquishness and runaway commodification. Where money will not go in Chicago's blighted inner city, Gates's project has boldly ventured. Revitalisation - artistic, commerical and psychic - has, in this fundamentally replicable case, trumped the usual capitalist calculus of risk and return.
Pick up a copy of ArtReview's January/February 2012 issue
or read the entire article here