Exhibitions

Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei

Highly-Anticipated, Must-See First Solo Exhibition in Japan by an Enthralling Black Artist

2024.4.24 [Wed] - 9.1 [Sun]

Highly-Anticipated, Must-See First Solo Exhibition by an Enthralling Black Artist in Japan, with Epic Installation Imagining a New Hybrid of Black and Japanese Cultures through Ceramics, Architecture, and Music

Based on the South Side of Chicago, IL, Theaster Gates (b. 1973 in Chicago) has earned international acclaim for a practice that traverses multiple media and genres, primarily focusing on sculpture and ceramics but also encompassing architecture, music, performance, fashion and design. Trained as a sculptor and urban planner, Gates has been influenced by Japanese craft and culture over the past 20 years. He first traveled to Japan in 2004 to study ceramics in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture. His deep encounters in Japan and across the Asia-Pacific, coupled with his experiences as an African-American man with roots in Mississippi and Chicago have been the keystones of his creative process. Gates, who has explored cultural hybridity over the course of his practice, coined the term “Afro-Mingei,” his unique conceptual framework fusing the philosophies of the Japanese Mingei Movement and the aesthetics of the “Black Is Beautiful” cultural movement that played a significant part in the American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968). Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei is Gates’ first solo exhibition in Japan and largest-ever in Asia, with the speculative proposition of “Afro-Mingei” placed as the central backbone of the presentation. This exhibition showcases major bodies of existing and never-before-seen work that demonstrate the influence of Japanese culture on his practice.
As the world reexamines the historical and contemporary prominence of certain voices and seeks to diversify the perspectives represented, the global art scene has been increasingly interested in the multiplicity of experiences reflected in the work of leading Black artists. While Black histories remain relatively little known among the Japanese public, this exhibition demonstrates its growing attention to Black art through the multidimensional practice of Theaster Gates. Afro-Mingei will convey the importance of contemporary art that honors craft, ask us to consider questions of race and politics, and celebrate the hybrid possibilities of culture.

Doric Temple
Theaster Gates
Doric Temple
2022
High-fired stoneware with glaze
Dimensions variable
Installation view: Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces, New Museum, New York, 2022-2023
Photo: Chris Strong
Doric Temple
Theaster Gates
Doric Temple
2022
High fire stoneware with glaze
Dimensions variable
Installation view: Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces, New Museum, New York, 2022-2023
Photo: Chris Strong

Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei
Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei
About the Exhibition
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