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Gallery Talk: Theaster Gates, Michelle Grabner and Zachary Cahill


On the occasion of his exhibition Every Square Needs a Circle, Theaster Gates joined Michelle Grabner and Zachary Cahill at Gray Warehouse for a panel discussion. Examining the work in depth, Gates, Grabner and Cahill unpack the on-view exhibition, delving into the broader overarching themes that influence his socially engaged artistic practice.

On view in spring of 2018, Every Square Needs a Circle presented sculpture, installation, tar paintings, and neon work by Theaster Gates. Relating moments from art history to stories of quotidian labor, the exhibition marks a continuation of Gates’s long engagement with the work of American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois, whose examination of genius and progress in Black America from Emancipation to the mid-20th century has been a source of inspiration for the artist. Placing his interest in poetics and the history of objects, Gates’s multi-faceted installation bridges the work of Du Bois with architectural excerpts from Chicago, expounding on the archives that hold and preserve records of Black intelligence.

This panel took place at Gray Warehouse in Chicago on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019, at 6:00 PM. Theaster Gates: Every Square Needs a Circle ran at Gray Warehouse from April 4 - June 29, 2019.

Artwork © Theaster Gates. Video © Richard Gray Gallery. Production and Editing: David Sampson.