Graduate Symposium: Theaster Gates

2018 Nasher Prize Dialogues

Addressing a broad audience of art historians and museum professionals, the 2018 Nasher Prize Graduate Symposium focused on the work of the Nasher Prize Laureate Theaster Gates.

The Nasher Prize Graduate Symposium offers students a chance to take the Nasher Prize Laureate’s work as inspiration for their own scholarly and creative work. Student presentations and an accompanying publication expand scholarship on the field of contemporary sculpture and its many forms.

Watch the Keynote Presentation   Read the 2018 Compendium 

Keynote Speaker / Matthew Jesse Jackson 
Matthew Jesse Jackson is a writer, curator, and critic who teaches modern and contemporary art at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Experimental Group: Ilya Kabakov, Moscow Conceptualism, Soviet Avant-Gardes, winner of the Robert Motherwell Book Award, as well as co-author of Vision and Communism. For the past dozen years he has been involved with Our Literal Speed, a text and art undertaking located in Selma, Alabama. His current writing project is called Vernacular Modernism All Over the Deep South and he is editor and co-translator from the Russian of the forthcoming Ilya Kabakov: On Art.

Watch the Keynote

Moderator / Sofia Bastidas
Sofia Bastidas’s work focuses on research practices in the political and geographical spheres that can advance cultural discourse and diversify present conditions of knowledge production. Bastidas co-founded TVGOV, a think tank and political design company that re-envisions territory in relation to current economic circumstances, recently participating in the 9th Berlin Biennale. Bastidas also co-founded Port to Port in 2015, a nomadic curatorial research program that grounds theories of planetary urbanization and contemporary capitalism by focusing on maritime logistic cities, collaborating with local institutions to co-produce exhibitions, symposia and artist residencies. Port to Port has produced work for Bluecoat Contemporary Art Center (Liverpool), Solentiname Archipelago (Nicaragua), CCE Casa del Soldado (Panama), and Places Journal (New York), among others venues. Bastidas is currently the SMU Meadows Schools of the Arts Curatorial Fellow and Pollock Gallery Director. Bastidas was born and raised in Ecuador, and lived in Miami, Magic City before moving to Dallas in 2016.

Student Presentations

Kimberly Jacobs, Virginia Commonwealth University
Practicing the Poetics of Space: Theaster Gates’s Glass Pavilion

Allison Vanouse, The Editorial Institute at Boston University 
Theaster Gates and the Archival Imperative

Zoma Wallace, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA)
Saving Grace: Considering the Poetics Within Theaster Gates’s Abstracted Reclamations as Acts of Grace

Patricia Stout, University of Texas at Dallas
Art as an Ongoing Relationship: Theaster Gates’s Architectural Projects

Victoria Sung, University of Oxford
"Anecdote of the Jar”: Theaster Gates’s Black Vessel for a Saint

About Theaster Gates

With a strong focus on the material aspects of memory, history, and place, Nasher Prize 2018 Laureate Theaster Gates has established a new paradigm for sculpture by joining together disparate methods of artistic production—the creation of discrete objects and the re-zoning, rebuilding, and reterritorializing of architectural spaces. Trained as a potter, with masters’ degrees in urban planning and theology, Gates has synthesized these different areas of study into a diverse practice that incorporates sculpture, ceramics, painting, music, performance, architecture, urban planning, and community engagement. Though best known for his architectural projects, such as Dorchester Projects (ongoing since 2008) and Stony Island Arts Bank (ongoing since 2015), for which the artist has restored abandoned buildings in Chicago and recast them as cultural centers, Gates approaches all aspects of his work from the perspective of an object-maker, with a strong focus on the material aspects of memory, history, and place. 


Presenting Sponsor: JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Founding Partners: The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger

The Dallas Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of Nasher Prize Month, with additional support generously provided by The Donna Wilhelm Family Fund.

The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation is the Arts Youth Education Sponsor of Nasher Prize Month.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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