Theaster Gates
1969 Hahn fire truck1969 Hahn fire truck1969 Hahn fire truck (detail)9x9x9Ain't I a ManAin't I a Man (detail)South Gallery IJohnson Editorial Library (detail)Johnson Editorial Library (detail)On Black Foundations Fashion Fair and EbonyA Maimed KingSouth Gallery II, room 1South Gallery II, room I Black Monks of Mississippi PerformanceBlack Monks of Mississippi PerformanceTeleological Study with HoseTeleological Study with Hose (detail)FlagGees AmericanGees American (detail)Gees RedGees Red (detail)Civil Landscape 1Civil LandscapeForm Work with Riot Particulate 1Form Work with Riot Particulate 3Form Work with Riot Particulate 3 (detail)Stumbling Block with Red HoseRaising Goliath
My Labor Is My Protest
September 7 – November 11 2012
White Cube Bermondsey, London
Exhibition website

This exhibition furthers Theaster Gates' interest in a critique of social practice, shared economies and the question of objects in relation to political and cultural thought. Gates readdresses the ongoing struggle for civil rights and many of the works have special iconic significance in relation to particular episodes in recent American history.

His focus is also on the availability of information and the cross-fertilisation of ideas. A curated library, borrowed from the archive of Johnson Publishing Company, the Chicago-based publishers of Ebony, offers a history of black American culture. Alongside this, a vintage make-up counter displays a selection of cosmetics from Fashion Fair, the first and largest company to produce products specifically for a black consumer.

Other various sculptural and two-dimensional works explore Gates' interest in the poetics of re-purposed and salvaged materials. These include 'ready-mades', a series of tar paintings that incorporate various textural objects, and several 'Civil Tapestry' works made from colorful strips of decommissioned fire hose tonally arranged and sewn together. Gates refers to his working method as ‘critique through collaboration’ and his projects often stretch the form of what we usually understand visual art to be.

Theaster Gates discusses My Labor Is My Protest
Theaster Gates discusses On Black Foundations