Ground rules. Red square for floor hockey and nigger sports


Theaster Gates ( American, 1973 )

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General Description

Theaster Gates collapses art and life in his work as a sculptor and urban planner. His expansive practice is underpinned by a belief in social transformation through direct spatial intervention. Gates’s art often includes found objects that he collects in ambitious urban projects, such as rehabilitating buildings in order to transform them into cultural hubs for underserved neighborhoods. Part of what Gates describes as a “circular ecological system,” the renovations of the buildings are financed entirely by the sale of art created from the materials salvaged from their interiors. For this work, the artist repurposed the wooden planks of a gym from a Chicago high school that was closed by the city in 2014. In the work’s title, Gates, who is African American, points to this history and how it has shaped the experience of Black Americans in his hometown.

Excerpt from

Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 274.