Theaster’s Way: On the Art of Theaster Gates

The latest piece by Gina Athena Ulysse, from her commentary on the Huffington Post, offers an anthropologist’s take on the work of artist Theaster Gates.

“Mississippi is my Africa” (AKRiFa. he wrote on the makeshift board). Misspelled? A pun? Who the hell knows? That was his response to being asked where is home and, “Where are you from?” Theaster’s drawn out answer was eventually punctuated with this unexpected assertion. Noting that in the past he had feigned different identities, laying claims to elsewhere as points of origin, he articulated an ancestral/generational right to this place. There was a note of affirmation with this claim — a not so subtle discard of the qualifying hyphen. A re-routing and re-rooting beyond the crossing. Blackness made here. Homegrown.

Read the entire piece by Gina Athena Ulysse on the Huffington Post: Theaster’s Way

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The set up at “See, Sit, Sup, Sip, Sing: Holding Court (2012)” at the Studio Museum of Harlem. Photo credit: Studio Museum of Harlem.

Gina Athena Ulysse, Anthropologist, author of the new Huff Post series, "Why Anthropology Still Matters."

Gina Athena Ulysse, Anthropologist, author of the new Huff Post series, “Why Anthropology Still Matters.”

 

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