5:30–6:30 pm, Reception
6:30–7:30 pm, Lecture
7:30–8 pm, Questions & Conversation
The history of America’s long struggle for civil rights is one of Theaster Gates’s predominant themes. He directly approaches this subject in a series of objects and paintings (2010–onward) fashioned from decommissioned fire hoses. The fire hoses employed by Gates are well used, but traces of text—specifying where they were fabricated, their gauge, and compliance with various fire codes—are sometimes still legible. In the context of Gates’s work, these practical details take on a variety of connotations. The hoses in Civil Tapestry 5, for example, read “1962,” and “Compton, Calif.,” a hub of African American culture as well as gang violence. 1962 was the year deadly riots erupted over racial integration of the University of Mississippi, and President Kennedy was forced to deploy Federal Marshals to ensure the safety of James Meredith, the lone African-American student admitted there. Theaster Gates pictures a world in which this moment in American history has infiltrated everything—even works of apparent abstraction. This lecture will be the first opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the true importance of this recent acquisition and of Gates’s international prominence in contemporary art.
About the 2016-2017 Director's Lecture Series
This year’s Director’s Lecture Series presents the story of six timely—and timeless—works of art that help define the continuing greatness of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill, and Senior Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More and View Series Schedule