Visual arts

Theaster Gates Nasher Food Pop-Up to Merge Japanese and African American Tastes

Artist Theaster Gates will open a new project at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas this month, offering visitors the chance to sample Japanese and Southern African-American influenced dishes on a table made by the artist, while listening to music curated by him and seeing his other works.

Afro Mingei will be open to the public from November 16 to April 29, 2023. Its menu will include dishes such as “cornmeal dumplings with shitake leek broth and kabocha squash, or karaage chicken with green tomato chow-chow and a remoulade” served on ceramics made by Gates’ studio manufacturing arm, Dorchester Industries. Tea service and other beverages like Japanese whiskeys will be available.

Gates, the 2018 Nasher Prize winner, has created works at the intersection of black and Japanese culture, including a project this summer in Japan in which he transformed a former clay pipe factory into a stylish home Japanese for the Aichi Triennale, one of the largest international art festivals in the country. The installation featured works inspired by artist Agnès Martin and academic-activist WEB DuBois.

“Through this work, he continues to refuse traditional black and white binaries and instead leans into the truth of his story, and his ongoing dialogue with Japanese philosophy and craftsmanship,” the Nasher said in a statement. hurry.

Afro Mingei will showcase Gates’ work across multiple disciplines. It will include a communal table and bar created by Gates and his team from reclaimed wood in Chicago and a DJ booth with selections from Gates’ soul and R&B collection.

“The term Afro Mingei, coined by Gates, links the word for the iconic black hairstyle that served as a symbol of black identity and empowerment in the 1960s and 1970s and the Japanese term mingei that was coined by philosopher Soetsu Yanagi and ceramists Shoji Hamada and Kanjiro Kawai to describe and honor the realm of humble objects of everyday use made by unknown craftsmen,” according to the Nasher.

Gates – for whom the term “Renaissance man” is an understatement – is no stranger to innovative ventures. The social practice artist, who also teaches at the University of Chicago, focuses on land-use planning and the transformation of spaces to explore blackness and black spaces through performances, sculptures and international exhibitions. You may have also seen it on Dua Lipa’s Instagram story.

He is the founder of the Rebuild Foundation, a platform that works on Chicago’s South Side to provide free arts programming, new art facilities, and affordable housing for artists.

He’s also linked to big names like luxury fashion house Prada, with whom he partnered to launch The Design Lab, a three-year program to provide mentorship and support to color designers.

Earlier this year Gates made history as the first artist, not an architect, to create his own installation, the Black Chapel, at the Serpentine Pavilion in London. He is the co-founder of the Black Artists Retreat (BAR), an annual gathering of black artists in Chicago, and often performs with his band The Black Monks. Their work draws inspiration from Southern black music, blues, gospel, wailing and Eastern monastic traditions.

The project will be open to the public from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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