Calendar of Events

Spring 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010
To Speculate Darkly
A performance and lecture by Theaster Gates, Jr.
6:15 pm Lubar Auditorium, Milwaukee Art Museum (directions and parking information)

Chicago artist Theaster Gates, Jr. provides us with a performance and lecture related to his current installation at the Milwaukee Art Museum, "To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter," which explores the history and legacy of Dave Drake. A freed slave in antebellum South Carolina, Drake produced stoneware pottery and famously adorned his pots with poetic couplets. Though historians and art historians have explored Drake’s career in detail, Gates is the first artist to reinterpret his work and to make it pertinent to a broader set of concerns about the place of labor and craft in present-day America. The installation runs through August 1.

A sound piece accompanying "To Speculate Darkly" features a two hundred-strong voice choir that engages the enigmatic, emotional works of poetry found on Drake’s pots. Gates created this captivating sound piece with musicians from both Milwaukee and Chicago. Gates further collaborated with local tradespeople to develop original ceramic works for the show. Thus, the project, as intended, has brought together two very different groups of people in partnership, and promises to create lasting relationships across the city.

Potter, musician, and performance artist, Theaster Gates, Jr. has earned national acclaim for his intelligent commentaries on race, the city, and the museum. He was recently selected to participate in the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

"To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter" is supported by a generous grant from the Joyce Foundation, which fosters the development of new works in dance, music, theater, and visual arts by artists of color. The exhibition is curated by Ethan Lasser, curator at the Chipstone Foundation.

Gates' performance and lecture on April 29 for the Debt conference is sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee Art Museum press release

Article on Theaster Gates at the Milwaukee Art Museum in TimeOut Chicago

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