Friday, May 14, 2010
Theaster Gates at Milwaukee Art Museum inspires debate on Art City
I saw the Gates exhibit yesterday. The show is an eclectic mix of widely diverse elements that lacks coherence. The disparate media are bound by the themes of racial identity and inequity, but it takes a determined visitor to discover this. I agree with the comment by MDavidson that parts of it ring hollow. Further, Salas said that "Gates does not shy away from expressing his anger" but I didn't feel any emotion. Like so much academic-oriented art these days, it uses a formulaic, conceptual representation of anger that has been distilled of any real emotional punch.
Some of the same strategies that MDavidson critiqued so well in his comment apply here. I’ll add one: salvaged materials were “repurposed” for the installation. Collaboration is a key element here, too, and one of Gates’s strengths, I think. The image below is an example of a Gates installation (from the Whitney Museum website) but not the actual biennial piece.
To read more about the biennial installation click on Whitney Biennial.
To read more about the installation in Milwaukee click on MAM.