Power 100

Most influential people in 2023 in the contemporary artworld


Theaster Gates

Artist - Revolutionising social practice while integrating it within the art market

7 in 2023

  • 20237
  • 202218
  • 20214
  • 201920
  • 201830
  • 201723
  • 201616
  • 201530
  • 201444
  • 201340
  • 201256
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
Photo: Wyatt Conlon. Courtesy Theaster Gates and Gagosian

While Gates keeps an energetic exhibition schedule – a solo show at LUMA Arles, a public art project in Memphis, projects for the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Sharjah Biennial – his influence spreads far beyond the visitors to his shows. Gates’s Rebuild Foundation is credited not only with revitalising the South Side of Chicago but providing education and career paths for huge numbers of Black creatives. This might be through his collaboration with Prada, which offers a three-year incubator programme (he also chairs the fashion brand’s diversity and inclusion council), or the culinary trainee programme of an eatery run by the foundation. Next year, the latest in Gates’s repurposing of empty Chicago buildings as art spaces takes the form of an art deco former school, which will become a cultural hub and arts incubator; meanwhile the Black cultural archives held at the Stony Island Arts Bank were used as inspiration for Corinne Bailey Rae’s latest album. No wonder Gates’s wide-ranging practice was recognised with both the Isamu Noguchi Award and the Vincent Scully Prize.

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