In a Pivot From Social Practice, Theaster Gates Designed a Private Club With Prada for Art Basel Miami Beach

Prada Mode Miami is the first outing of the fashion brand's new roving cultural night club.

Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Prada.
Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Prada.

Who’s the man in charge of designing the latest hot spot at this week’s Art Basel Miami Beach? None other than Chicago social practice artist Theaster Gates, who has created a site-specific installation for Prada Mode, the luxury brand’s new members-only night club that is blending contemporary art, music, and dining.

Gates currently has a show, “The Black Image Corporation,” at Fondazione Prada in Milan (on view through January 13, 2019) that presents images from the archives of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company. The archives, which include the magazines Jet and Ebony, now belong to the Rebuild Foundation, Gates’s nonprofit dedicated to preserving Chicago’s African American culture and revitalizing the city’s South Side.

His installation at Prada Mode is an outgrowth of that project, featuring striking black-and-white photographs of African American subjects who were published in Johnson magazines.

Prada believes that “Theaster’s work has a profound ability to engage the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity,” a representative of the company told artnet News. Prada Mode hopes to spark conversations about contemporary culture and society while functioning as “an exclusive destination and a discreet, elegant retreat from the daily clamor of high-intensity cultural engagements during Art Basel Miami Beach.”

If you can manage to snag an invite to Prada Mode—sources tell us the guest list is already full—programming will include a conversation with Document Journal on the creation and dissemination of images, and a special performance by Gates and his band the Black Monks of Mississippi.

The inaugural edition of Prada Mode will is only open through December 6, but the company plans to pop up in cities across the world timed to other global cultural gatherings. Previously, during last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, the brand debuted The Prada Double Club Miami, an invitation-only nightclub designed by Belgian-German artist Carsten Höller that featured musical performances in a tropical garden and a sleek monochromatic indoor space.

See photos of Prada Mode below.

The installation by Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Prada)

The installation by Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Prada)

Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

The installation by Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

The installation by Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

The installation by Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

Prada Mode Miami at Freehand Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

Prada Mode Miami at Freehand Miami. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

Prada Mode is located at Freehand Miami, 2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, Florida. 


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