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Meet the Panel
Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-‐ world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.
In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side. Gates has exhibited and performed at Gagosian Gallery, NY (2020); Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture, and the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates received the 2020 Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities.
Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. He is represented by White Cube, London.
Julie Mehretu is a world renowned painter, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970 who lives and works in New York City and Berlin. She received a Master’s of Fine Art with honors from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu is a recipient of many awards, including the The MacArthur Award (2005) and the US Department of State Medal of Arts Award (2015). She has shown her work extensively in solo and group exhibitions and is represented in public and private collections around the world. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, as well as White Cube, London.
Naomi Beckwith is the Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and formerly a curator at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Beckwith’s numerous exhibitions include, "The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now” and "30 Seconds off an Inch,” both considering the resonance of black culture across contemporary art internationally. She has championed rising artists like Rashid Johnson, Keren Cytter, The Propeller Group and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye as well as works to expand the scholarship around established artists such as Howerdena Pindell. Beckwith has contributed to numerous scholarly and periodical publications including Artforum International, Nka, Frieze, The New York Times and W Magazine—and served on the jury of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. She holds an M.A. with Distinction from Courtauld Institute of Art and was a Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum. A multiple grantee, and now trustee, of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Beckwith is a also recipient of the New Leadership award for ArtTable and was name as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2020 by The Root.
Massimiliano Gioni is the Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum and the director of the Trussardi Foundation in Milan.
He has curated numerous international exhibitions and biennials including the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010), the first New Museum Triennial (co-curated with Lauren Cornell and Laura Hoptman in 2009), the 4th Berlin Biennale (co-curated with Maurizio Cattelan and Ali Subotnick in 2006) and Manifesta 5 (co-curated with Marta Kuzma in 2004).
At the New Museum Massimiliano Gioni has curated solo exhibitions by John Akomfrah, Pawel Althamer, Thomas Bayrle, Lynda Benglis, Jordan Casteel, Paul Chan, Sarah Charlesworth, Roberto Cuoghi, Tacita Dean, Nicole Eisenman, Urs Fischer, Hans Haacke, Camille Henrot, Carsten Höller, Kahlil Joseph, Ragnar Kjartansson, Klara Liden, Sarah Lucas, Goshka Macuga, Gustav Metzger, Marta Minujin, Albert Oehlen, Chris Ofili, Carol Rama, Pipilotti Rist, Peter Saul, Jim Shaw, Andra Ursuta, Anri Sala, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Nari Ward, among others.
Gioni’s group shows – which include “After Nature”, “Ghosts in the Machine”, “Here and Elsewhere”, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” “Ostalgia”, and “The Keeper” – have become signature initiatives of the New Museum program.
In 2018 in London at The Store X Gioni organized “Strange Days – Memories of the Future”, an anthology of video works originally presented at the New Museum. In 2019 he curated “The Warmth of Other Suns,” a collaboration between the New Museum and the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, and at Museo Jumex in Mexico City he curated “Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and the Object in the Work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even”, the first exhibition to bring in dialogue the works of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons – with nearly 500,000 viewers, the exhibition was the most visited in the museum's history.
Since 2003 Gioni has been directing the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan, where he has curated solo shows and public art projects by, among others, Allora and Calzadilla, Paweł Althamer, Darren Almond, John Bock, Maurizio Cattelan, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller, Elmgreen and Dragset, Urs Fischer, Fischli and Weiss, Cyprien Gaillard, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sarah Lucas, Ibrahim Mahama, Paola Pivi, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala, and Tino Sehgal. With the Trussardi Foundation, in 2015, on the occasion of Expo Milan, he curated “The Great Mother” at Palazzo Reale, and in 2017 he has organized “The Restless Earth” at La Triennale.
In 2017 he curated the exhibition “Giuseppe Penone: Matrice”, produced by Fendi at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome. Gioni was also part of the commission of the Ministry of Culture that selected Giuseppe Penone's “Leaves of Stone” to be the first contemporary artwork to be permanently installed in the historic center of the city of Rome.
Since 2015 he has organized the presentations of the Tony and Elham Salame Collection at the Aishti Foundation in Beirut, where he has curated three exhibitions, titled respectively “New Skin” (2015), “Good Dreams, Bad Dreams: American Mythologies” (2016), and “The Trick Brain” (2017) along with Urs Fischer's major solo exhibition: “The Lyrical and the Prosaic” (2019).
Gioni has contributed to many publications and magazines including Artforum, Flash Art (for which he served as US editor from 1999 to 2003), Frieze, Parkett, Tate Etc., among others. He co-founded the “Wrong Gallery” with Maurizio Cattelan and Ali Subotnick, with whom he has directed the independent art magazines “The Wrong Times” and “Charley”. He is the commissioning editor of “2000 Words,” a series of monographic books published by the Dakis Joannou Collection/Deste Foundation, with which he has frequently collaborated, co-curating numerous exhibitions in Athens.
He has served as a juror for the following prizes and awards: Absolut Art Award, BMW Art Journey, Hugo Boss Prize, Mario Merz Prize, Edvard Munch Art Award, Pinchuk Art Prize, Preis der Nationalgalerie-Hamburger Banhof, Kurt Schwitters Prize, Vilcek Prize.
Malik Gaines is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar. He has exhibited and performed widely with the group My Barbarian, which is currently planning a survey of their work to open fall 2021 at the Whitney Museum, New York. He also makes music and performance work in other collaborations and solo. Gaines’s book Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left (2017) traces political ideas through performances of the 1960s and beyond. HisHisHis next book project, which has been supported by a Warhol Foundation grant, explores contemporary artworks and performances that mark the limits of national sovereignty. His writing about art and performance has appeared in Art Journal, Women & Performance, Artforum and many others, and his recent exhibition catalogue essays have discussed Lorraine O’Grady, Jacolby Satterwhite, Kehinde Wiley, Senga Nengudi, Pope.L, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, The Judson Dance Theater, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Ed Bereal. Gaines is associate professor of Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.