Established in April 2015, the Nasher Prize is the most significant award in the world dedicated exclusively to contemporary sculpture. It is presented annually to a living artist who has had an extraordinary impact on our understanding of the art form.
Each winner is chosen by a jury of renowned museum directors, curators, artists, and art historians who have expertise in the field and varying perspectives on the subject. The Laureate receives a $100,000 prize and a commemorative award designed by Renzo Piano, conferred in April of each year. The 2018 Nasher Prize Laureate is Chicago-based artist, Theaster Gates, the first American to be honored with the prize.
As part of the celebration of Gates’s designation as the recipient of the Nasher Prize, the Nasher Sculpture Center presents five works by the Laureate. While representing only a small part of the artist’s diverse body of work, which includes large-scale installations, performance, and urban renewal projects, each object illuminates key elements of Gates’s practice. Both Civil Tapestry Composite – circle study and Dirty Red touch on the artist’s use of reclaimed materials that often bear the weight of historical and political references, while Square Work. 2000s with a little bit of 60s is informed by Gates’s archiving practice, itself a reclamation of lost or forgotten histories. The wall-based Squirt and the ceramic and plaster sculpture The Steeple allude to aspects of the artist’s biography through the respective materials of tar and clay. The five works underscore Gates’s ongoing dialogue with the history of modern and contemporary practices.