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Curator’s Tour: Theaster Gates’s “13th Ballad”

Tue, Sep 17, 2013, Noon–1 pm


Kristin Korolowicz

Kristin Korolowicz, 2012–13 Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow and co-curator of the exhibition, leads a tour of Theaster Gates: 13th Ballad.

About the exhibition

13th Ballad, an installation by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, is an extension of the artist’s 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, which was coproduced by the MCA for and exhibited at Documenta 13, the 2012 iteration of the international art exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. Gates, whose practice includes performance, sculpture, installation, and large-scale urban interventions, created 12 Ballads for Huguenot House as part of his ongoing efforts toward architectural and social rejuvenation in his South Chicago neighborhood: Using repurposed materials from his previous projects in Chicago, Gates renovated a dilapidated historic building in Kassel called the Huguenot House, where he also presented a series of performances. For 13th Ballad, Gates creates a new large-scale installation in the MCA’s Kovler Atrium that, in turn, comprises objects and materials from the Huguenot House, as well as a set of repurposed pews from the University of Chicago’s campus church. The installation features a monumental double cross sculpture, which, in combination with the pews, creates an ecclesiastical ambience within the museum. 13th Ballad is accompanied by a series of collaborative performances. Providing context for the project, the MCA Screen gallery reprises key aspects of 12 Ballads for Huguenot House as well as video footage from an earlier project by Gates. Functional objects Gates and his team created for Documenta 13 are showcased along with preparatory drawings and other ephemera.

This exhibition is co-organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, and Kristin Korolowicz, 2012–13 Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.