What’s the purpose of a museum—and who decides which objects are worthy of value, attention, and care? These two questions, along with decades of inventive and collective artmaking, are at the core of “Young Lords and Their Traces” at the New Museum, the Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’s first-ever museum survey exhibition to be staged in New York City (on view through February 5, 2023).
Also an urbanist and social activist who flows between making, preserving, and collecting, Gates operates a multifarious, cross-disciplinary practice, moving from archiving and caring for historical collections of images and objects to physical object-making, whether it be ceramics, painting, installation, or sculpture. Some of his works even verge on architecture. In developing the exhibition, New Museum curators Massimiliano Gioni and Gary Carrion-Murayari wanted to explore the intersectionality of Gates’s vast body of work, elevating his singular vision while also considering how, more generally, we think about and use objects in our everyday lives.
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