Now celebrating its 15th year of exhibiting experimental contemporary art, Locust Projects is pleased to present Soul Manufacturing Corporation by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, whose critically acclaimed installation 12 Ballads for Huguenot House was recently featured in dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany. For the first gallery exhibition of this multi-disciplinary project, Gates will create a factory consisting of four pavilions, occupied by “skilled makers” who will work in Locust Projects’ main gallery. Beginning with an empty space, the "skilled makers" will produce “things” through the duration of the exhibition.
Concurrently, Soul Manufacturing Corporation will host programs by a yoga instructor, a DJ, and a reader, all there to care for the makers and the audience. Inspiration for this programming stems from the lectors who presented news, politics, and literature to illiterate workers in the early industrial era. Soul Manufacturing Corporation is in its second year of exploring and creating relationships between aesthetics, labor and race.
Gates is known for his performances, installations, and urban interventions, which transform spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions. His training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body. When Gates is not making art for museums, he is converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raise the expectations of where “place-making” happens and why.
The exhibition will also include sculptural and two-dimensional works, created with materials sourced from sites in Chicago and Miami, underscoring Gates' interest in the poetics of re-purposed and salvaged materials.