Theaster Gates: Amalgam
In Theaster Gates: Amalgam running from December 13, 2019, to May 3, 2020, at Tate Liverpool, the artist explores the complex and interweaving issues of race, territory, and inequality in the United States.
The exhibition takes the history of Malaga as its point of departure. During the 19th century, this small island off the coast of Maine, USA, was home to an ethnically-mixed community. In 1912, on the orders of the state governor, Malaga’s inhabitants were forcibly removed to the mainland. They were offered no housing, jobs or support.
Amalgam presents sculpture, installation, film and dance that respond to this history. Highlights include a new film, Dance of Malaga 2019, which features the choreography of acclaimed American dancer, Kyle Abraham. Gates’s musical collective, The Black Monks provide the film’s score. Their blues and gospel-inspired sound can be heard throughout the exhibition, continuing into an immersive ‘forest’ installation.
Theaster Gates (b. 1973) is one of the world’s most socially engaged influential living artists. His practice is grounded in African-American history and culture, and in his own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Slavery, industrial exploitation, and the Civil Rights Movement feature prominently in his sculptures, installations, and performances, into which he incorporates such materials as shoeshine stations and fire hoses. During the 2008 financial crisis, Gates decided to focus on fostering improvement through art. Starting in his own neighbourhood and expanding to other communities, he has effectively rejuvenated numerous abandoned buildings, transforming them into vibrant social hubs and cultural spaces.
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