Theaster Gates: Black Chapel

Theaster Gates: Black Chapel

Haus der Kunst

Theaster Gates, “Black Madonna” series. © Theaster Gates in collaboration with JNL Design.

October 22, 2019
Theaster Gates
Black Chapel
October 25, 2019–July 19, 2020
Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
80538 Munich
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–8pm,
Thursday 10am–10pm

T +49 89 21127113
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The work of the American artist Theaster Gates (*1973) builds a bridge between art and life, fascinating viewers with evocative spatial constellations that make visible the network of relationships between stereotypical forms of representation and the power structures that underpin them. By incorporating a multifaceted practice that unites sculpture, installation, film, performance, improvisation, musical composition and public action, Gates transforms spaces into places of artistic and cultural intervention, and thus into potential platforms for political and social change.

For the sixth iteration of Haus der Kunst’s series Der Öffentlichkeit - Von den Freunden Haus der Kunst, Theaster Gates has created the expansive Black Chapel. This multipartite installation directly responds to the architecture of Haus der Kunst’s 800-square-meter Middle Hall, exposing it to a complex, politically and spiritually charged narrative. The installation comprises two large pavilions, as well as a variety of vitrines, each containing a disparate array of sculptures, photographs and documents. These are accompanied by two large-scale illuminated, rotating panels that display photographs from the archives of the landmark Johnson Publishing Company. The images were first published in “Ebony” and “Jet” magazines, two iconic publications that contributed significantly to the spread of Black culture in the United States. Within the context of the current commission, the interplay of sculpture and photography facilitates the creation of a space that evokes questions about Black history, spirituality and representation, and rewrites them visually.

In the adjacent Archive Gallery, Gates will exhibit the record collection of the athlete Jesse Owens (1913–80) as part of the series “Archives in Residence.” Owens grew up in times of strict racial segregation in the United States. At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, this exceptional athlete won several gold medals under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler. His successes there were recorded by the controversial film director and photographer Leni Riefenstahl, who created the propaganda film Olympia. Riefenstahl’s material has now been reincorporated alongside other archival footage into a newly-created film by Gates, which offers a radical critique of racist image politics. Coincidentally, the paths of Jesse Owens and Leni Riefenstahl crossed once again in 1972, when both travelled to the Olympics in Munich, thereby drawing a line between the story of Jesse Owens’ life—as encapsulated in the collection of over 1,800 records—the clash of the racist ideologies in the US and Germany throughout his lifetime, and the particularly fraught history of Haus der Kunst.

Curated by Anna Schneider
Curatorial Assistant Dimona Stöckle

Archives in Residence:
Listening Sessions Jesse Owens’ Record Collection with DJ Jay Scarlett
Thursday, October 24, 6–10pm
Saturday, October 26, 5–8pm

Free admission

In concert:
Theaster Gates and the Black Monks: The Church of Funk
Saturday, October 26, 7:30pm
With Theaster Gates, Mikel Avery, Yaw Agyeman, Michael Drayton, Ben Lamar Gay, Jeff Harris and additional vocalists

“Come shout with us and shake your funky ass” (Theaster Gates)
Theaster Gates is the founder and singer of the legendary ensemble Black Monks (formerly Black Monks of Mississippi). The musical roots of the group lie in the so-called “Music of the South”: the blues, funk and gospel music, but also pick up on ascetic practices of Eastern monastic tradition. The voices and sounds experimentally highlight the peculiarities of “Black Sounds” and evoke longing, joy, pain and ecstasy.

Tickets available online or at the box office of Haus der Kunst.

Accreditations for press representatives at presse [​at​]


The exhibition is made possible thanks to major funding by the Gesellschaft der Freunde der Stiftung Haus der Kunst München e.V.

With additional thanks to White Cube for their generous support.

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Haus der Kunst
October 22, 2019

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