Intra-Disciplinary Seminar Public Lecture: Theaster Gates

Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

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The Intra-Disciplinary Seminar (IDS) Public Lecture Series presents a lecture by Theaster Gates entitled "Two Long Poems." It is free and open to the public.

Art Review coverTheaster Gates was born in Chicago in 1973. He first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist. Gates' practice includes sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions that aim to bridge the gap between art and life. Gates works as an artist, curator, urbanist, and facilitator and his projects attempt to instigate the creation of cultural communities by acting as catalysts for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change. Gates’s non-profit, Rebuild Foundation, manages the many projects in his Chicago hometown—including the Stony Island Arts Bank, Black Cinema House, Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, Archive House, and Listening House—while extending its support to cities throughout the American Midwest. Many of the artist’s works evoke his African-American identity and the broader struggle for civil rights, from sculptures incorporating fire hoses, to events organized around soul food, and choral performances by the experimental musical ensemble Black Monks of Mississippi, led by Gates himself.

Theaster Gates attended Iowa State University (MS, 2006; BS 1996) and University of Cape Town (MA, 1998). Gates’s awards and residencies include the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2017), American Academy of Arts & Sciences Award (2016); Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Social Progress (2015), Artes Mundi Award (2015), honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Art Institute (2015) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2014).

The IDS Public Lecture Series, consists of lectures by artists, theorists, activists, designers, writers, curators and other practitioners involved in the arts from positions that embody an interdisciplinary approach or that imply new uses for disciplinary traditions.

The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation.

Located in The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.