The Rebuild Foundation

Artists have the capacity to move conversations out of the realm of the theoretical and into the domain of the hyper-real. A space where gestural moments are both poetic and pragmatic. The projects that I am working on in Chicago, St. Louis and in other black cities in the mid-west hope to ask questions about why parts of cities (and her children) have been neglected. The projects move in and out of museums, real neighborhoods and the art market, unapologetically banal and sometimes with elements of “bling.” More than anything, I hope to engage real people in a conversation about what can we do for ourselves in an under-resourced neighborhood. How can we police, sanitize, enforce ideas, model amazing behavior, love, drink and gossip—with full knowledge that the activity we do here is no different than any place else in the beautiful world. I want to see beautiful things happen in poor places. We all want to see healthy trees and houses that have been thoughtfully considered. We all want the smell of mama’s cooking, incense, and a little bit of Michelob wafting through the air. If it doesn’t exist on my block, I will help realize it.

Mississippi is my Harvard.

Theaster Gates, Loeb fellow
Elizabeth MacWille, co-curator