Theaster Gates, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Laura Dvorkin Debut Show About Black Interiority in Chicago


On Wednesday evening in Chicago, guests previewed “In the Absence of Light: Gesture, Humor and Resistance in the Black Aesthetic,” an exhibition at Stony Island Arts Bank presented by the Rebuild Foundation in partnership with Expo Chicago, ARTnews, and the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection. The show was organized by artist Theaster Gates in collaboration with Beth Rudin DeWoody and Laura Dvorkin.

At the opening, Gates told the crowd:

When Beth DeWoody and I first started talking about having works from her collection here, I had this weird moment, where I was like, ‘Well, if everything in the collection is black, do I just call it the “Black Art Show?” Because apparently, if black people are making art, they’re making things about the same subject. What I wanted to try do in the exhibition with Beth’s support was to demonstrate that these paintings are talking about something beyond race. They’re talking about black interiority, and that interiority has so many different personalities. Those personalities are being captured by super smart people who know how to wield the human idea, but they also know how to wield that into a representative body. There are paintings and sculptures that symbolize and represent other things. This is not just a black show. It’s a show about black feelings.

On Saturday, those in Chicago curious to learn more can join ARTnews editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Theaster Gates for a panel conversation at 12 p.m. at the Rebuild Foundation.