Theaster Gates Launches Skills Training Program and Fundraising Auction

Works on sale include pieces by Anselm Kiefer, Eddie Peake, and Antony Gormely.

Theaster Gates. Photo Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Theaster Gates. Photo Cindy Ord/Getty Images.

Theaster Gate’s Rebuild Foundation has launched a training program for “un or under-employed” people living on the South Side of Chicago and announced a charitable auction to raise funds for both this program and his venue, the Stony Island Arts Bank, which will take place on November 5.

Artists included in the auction include Eddie Peake, Antony Gormley, and Anselm Kiefer, while Gates has donated a number of works himself. Bidders will also have the opportunity to take home work made by the first group of artists who took part in Gates’s Dorchester Industries initiative.

Dorchester Industries creates collaborations between those who need training and artisans who can educate them in useful skills. An example of this are the ceramics and tables on sale at the auction, which were created in collaboration with potter Koichi Ohara.

Glenn Ligon’s A Small Band (2015) will preview on the night of the auction at Stony Island Arts Bank, where it will remain on view until January 12, 2017.

The 2015 piece is a neon work which reads “blues, bruise, and blood” and was  inspired by the testimony of Daniel Hamm, one of the “Harlem Six.” Convicted of armed robbery and murder in 1964, five of the six men have now been released.

“Glenn and I have known each other for 10 years, and I have always been moved by the combination of sensitivity and power manifested in his work,” Gates said in a statement.

“To me, his art is as much about his use of language, a kind of poetry, as it is about the specific media he uses to convey that poetry, and A Small Band is a perfect example of that approach,” he added.

“While neon is so typically associated with the coarseness of advertising, here Glenn has co-opted that, forcing us to consider powerful words drawn from a travesty of justice,” Gates said. “I am tremendously grateful to Glenn for helping us bring this work to Chicago’s South Side communities, for whom these experiences often have such personal resonance. This work sets the bar for the kind of exhibition we will be doing at the Stony Island Arts Bank going forward.”

The charitable auction is already open for bidding on Paddle 8, running alongside the live sale that will take place this Saturday at the Stony Island Arts Bank.


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