News From Around the Art World: December 1, 2020

“Top Heavy,” 2020, detail, by Theaster Gates. One of his “tar paintings,” it incorporates industrial oil-based enamel, rubber torch down, bitumen, wood, and copper.Credit...Theaster Gates and Gagosian; Jacob Hand

Theaster Gates Turns the Stain of the Past Into Art

Theaster Gates, a social practice installation artist based in Chicago, is turning the history of Black labor in America on its head. Born in 1973 to a father who was a roofer, Mr. Gates embraced, too, a life of working with his hands. After graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in urban planning and ceramics, he proceeded to Japan to study pottery. In “Black Vessel,” his first New York solo show at Gagosian on West 24th Street, he succeeds in celebrating the rugged, hard work of artisans today.

By Yinka Elujoba, The New York Times

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Architecture Prof Offers A New Vision For Vacant Land On Chicago’s South And West Sides

Imagine if we envisioned thousands of parcels of vacant land on Chicago’s South and West Sides as one large space — as large as the city’s downtown. And imagine if we used that space collectively … for things that benefit entire communities instead of individual property owners.

That’s exactly how David Brown, a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture, views the city’s vast inventory of vacant land. He is also artistic director of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

By Natalie Moore, WBEZ Radio

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Chicago Gallerist and Tastemaker Easy Otabor Is Changing the Rules of the Art World

When Easy Otabor was growing up in Chicago, he didn’t know what to make of an art world that can be forbidding even to those who know its entryways. But he soon found his way in as a gallerist and tastemaker through fashion, music, and other cultural portals now playing an increasingly important role in changing the rules.

By Andy Battaglia, ARTnews

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Tubs, mural in Pilsen, of Chicago’s flag. Provided

Chicago artist Tubs honors pandemic victims in Day of the Dead mural on Near West Side

His mother taught him calligraphy. That helped lead him to his own style of painting words — first in graffiti and now in murals.

By Sun-Times staff, Chicago Sun Times

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