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Artist Talk: Theaster Gates with David Levin and Hamza Walker

Sat, May 18, 2013, 6–7 pm

Chicago artist Theaster Gates leads a discussion on his exhibition 13th Ballad with guest speakers David Levin, from the University of Chicago, and Hamza Walker, Director of Education/Associate Curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. The talk takes place in the MCA’s Kover Atrium, site of a large-scale installation by Gates, comprising a monumental double cross and repurposed pews from the University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel.

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates has developed an expanded practice that includes space development, object making, performance, and critical engagement with many publics. Founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, Gates is currently Director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago.  Recent exhibition and performance venues include the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Locust Projects, Miami; the Seattle Art Museum; Art Basel, Switzerland; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the Armory Show; and the Whitney Biennial in New York. Gates’ 2013 exhibition at the MCA Chicago extends the work he conceived for dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, Germany. In 2012, Gates was awarded the inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, the Wall Street Journal’s Arts Innovator of the Year, a Creative Time Global Residency Fellowship, and became a United States Artists Kippy Fellow. Gates has also received awards and grants from Creative Capital, the Joyce Foundation, Graham Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Artadia. He is represented by Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago and White Cube in London.

David J. Levin is Addie Clark Harding Professor of Germanic Studies, Cinema & Media Studies, and Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. In July, 2011, he was named the inaugural director of the Richard and Mary L Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, a center dedicated to fostering innovative collaborations between artists and scholars. His numerous books and articles focus on the aesthetics and politics of performance in opera, theater, and film. In addition to his academic work, Levin has also served extensively as a dramaturg for opera houses in the US and Germany as well as for the choreographer William Forsythe. He currently serves as co-executive editor of Opera Quarterly.

Since 1994, Hamza Walker has served as Director of Education/Associate Curator for The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago—a non-collecting museum devoted to contemporary art. Recent exhibitions he has curated include Black Is, Black Ain’t (2008), Several Silences (2009), Anna Shteynshleyger, a survey (2010), The Age of Aquarius (2011), William O’Brien, a survey of the ceramics (2011), Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven: In a Saturnian World (2011), Local Metrics (2012), and John Neff, Photographs 2010-2012 (2013). He was the recipient of the 2005 Walter Hopps Award for curatorial achievement, a 2006 Emily Hall Tremaine Award for the exhibition Black Is, Black Ain’t, and the 2010 Ordway Prize. He has written for numerous artists’ monographs in addition to publications such as Artforum and Parkett.