THEASTER GATES - Black Madonna. Kurt Schwitters Prize of the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung

23. June 2018 – 09. September 2018
Sprengel Museum HannoverSprengel Museum Hannover
The ceremony and exhibition honouring the winner of the 2017 Kurt Schwitters Prize of the Lower Saxon Sparkassenstiftung, Theaster Gates (born 1973 in Chicago, USA), will be held in June 2018 at the Sprengel Museum Hannover.
Gates, who achieved recognition in Germany especially with his redesign of the Hugenot House in Kassel’s Old Town at the 2012 documenta 13, has in the meanwhile been presented at exhibitions around the world, for example at the National Gallery, Washington (2017) and the Kunsthaus Bregenz (2016) as well as the Venice, Istanbul and Whitney Biennales.
The starting point and primary workplace of the artist who was trained as a sculptor and urban planner remains the South Side of Chicago, where he began with the purchase and renovation of a simple bungalow in Dorchester Avenue. Since then, Gates has founded diverse foundations, for example the Dorchester Project and the Rebuild Foundation, with the help of which he bought abandoned derelict houses, a bank building and a school, restored and repurposed them. Gates makes use of this principle of recycling material and architecture, which has a special artistic tradition in Chicago, in order to help revive a largely African-American working class district and improve the social and cultural welfare of its inhabitants.
Spanning across four European institutions in 2018, The Black Madonna is a multi-part project by Theaster Gates exploring the history of the black woman and her image. The project comprises a series of exhibitions and performances which draw from a range of sources, from influential depictions of the Madonna in European churches and museums, to the extensive print archive of the Johnson Publishing Corporation, the Chicago-based publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines. The Black Madonna is presented at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (9 June - 21 October 2018), Sprengel Museum Hannover and Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (from October 2018).
Theaster Gates: “The spirit of reproducibility and dissemination is very important in this project, made evident in the fact that these four venues will all show parts of the DNA of this idea of the Black Madonna. I’m very excited that this summer and fall, at the Kunstmuseum Basel, Sprengel Museum, Fondazione Prada and Haus der Kunst, I get to posit different kinds of questions, in very different places, to show the varying ways that I’m thinking about her.”
In 2018, the Kurt Schwitters Prize will be awarded for the eleventh time and is endowed with 25,000 Euros. The purpose of the Kurt Schwitters Prize, is to honour artists ‘whose work features a reference to Kurt Schwitters and is distinctive for venturing into new realms of artistic creativity and artistic imagination, or whose work contributes to linking and integrating the artistic genres’.
The jury who selected the winner of the Kurt Schwitters Prize 2017 were:
Dr Reinhard Spieler, director of the Sprengel Museum Hannover (chairman)
Dr Ralf Beil, director Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Dr. Laurent Le Bon, director of the Musée Picasso, Paris
Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum, New York
Susanne Pfeffer, director of the Fridericianum, Kassel
The jury explained its decision by stating:
“Theaster Gate’s strikingly interdisciplinary approach, his uncustomary materials, the way he works and thinks with and within spaces, his performative practice and the socio-political thrust of his art uphold the mental cosmos underlying Kurt Schwitters’s art within present-day artistic discourse in a manner which is both impressive and appropriate to our own times.”
Presenting the Kurt Schwitters Award is a fundamental element of the promotion of the arts by the Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung, which is not only involved in visual arts but also in music, museums and the preservation of historical monuments.
A publication (Ger./Eng.) produced in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Basel will appear to mark the two exhibitions.
Awards ceremony: Friday, 22 June 2018, 7 p.m. (Ort: Auditorium)

Begrüßung und Laudatio: Reinhard Spieler, Direktor Sprengel Museum Hannover
Zur Ausstellung: Carina Plath, Kuratorin
Preisübergabe: Thomas Mang, Präsident der Niedersächsischen Sparkassenstiftung
Im Anschluss im Calder Saal: The Black Monks of Mississippi

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Lupe zum Vergrößern
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Lupe zum Vergrößern
Sprengel Museum Hannover
Lupe zum Vergrößern
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