Power 100

Most influential people in 2022 in the contemporary artworld


Theaster Gates

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

18 in 2022

  • 202218
  • 20214
  • 201920
  • 201830
  • 201723
  • 201616
  • 201530
  • 201444
  • 201340
  • 201256
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
Photo: Rankin Photography Ltd

While the artist’s first museum survey opened at the New Museum, New York, in November, another debut came earlier in the year, when Gates became the first non-architect solely commissioned for a Serpentine Galleries pavilion (David Adjaye’s architecture practice helped with the realisation). The resulting Black Chapel (2022) was, according to press materials, influenced by the sacred forms of Hungarian round churches, voodoo circles and roda de capoeira. All social spaces, you will note, the sort of references typical for an artist who has revolutionised social practice while finding a way to integrate it within the commercial art market. So while exhibitions of his wall works and ceramic and tar sculptures at Gagosian in Basel and White Cube in West Palm Beach bring in the cash, the real social work is done back home within the myriad community projects he has initiated in Chicago, including the ongoing $10.35m transformation of an old school into a space supporting artists and creatives of colour, and the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, a collaboration with Miuccia Prada, offering mentorship programmes.

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