Performance as Sculpture: Theaster Gates and Ragnar Kjartansson

Theaster Gates is in the middle of the photo.

Nasher Sculpture Center Announces Nasher Prize Dialogues: Performance and Sculpture, presented in partnership with Reykjavik Art Museum

Conversation will feature artists Theaster Gates and Ragnar Kjartansson at Reykjavik Art Museum - Hafnarhús, August 23, as part of the Nasher Prize’s ongoing series of international public programs

DALLAS, Texas (July 19, 2018) – Nasher Sculpture Center announces Nasher Prize Dialogues: Performance and Sculpture, a conversation between American artist Theaster Gates and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, moderated by Reykjavik Art Museum’s Head of Exhibitions and Education Markús Þór Andrésson, and presented in partnership with Reykjavik Art Museum on August 23, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. GMT (1-3 p.m. CST) at Reykjavik Art Museum - Hafnarhús.

Artists Theater Gates (2018 Nasher Prize Laureate) and Ragnar Kjartansson will speak in conversation about the role of performance within their respective sculptural practices. Both artists have incredibly varied modes of working, but each uses performance—from music to highly orchestrated films and interventions—as a way of considering narratives of place, history, fact and fiction, and human relationship.

The discussion is part of Nasher Prize Dialogues, the discursive platform of the Nasher Prize, the annual international prize for a living artist in recognition of a body of work that has had an extraordinary impact on the understanding of sculpture. The Dialogues are intended to foster international awareness of sculpture and to stimulate discussion and debate. Programs—including panel discussions, lectures, and symposia—are held in cities around the world on a yearly basis, offering engagement with various audiences, and providing myriad perspectives and insight into the ever-expanding field of sculpture.

Previous international Nasher Prize Dialogues programs include “Artists and Authorship: Reference, Relationships and Appropriation in Contemporary Sculptural Practice” at the Trades Hall of Glasgow, in partnership with The Common Guild; “Sculpture + History” at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Dallas; “The Public Place of Sculpture” at Museo Jumex, Mexico City; “The Work of Sculpture in the Age of Digital Production” at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; and “Why Sculpture Now?” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in partnership with the Henry Moore Foundation.

Watch a special livestream of the discussion on August 23 from 6-8 p.m. GMT (1-3 p.m. CST) via the Nasher Sculpture Center Facebook page.

About the speakers 

Theaster Gates
With a strong focus on the material aspects of memory, history, and place, Theaster Gates has established a new paradigm for sculpture by joining together disparate methods of artistic production—the creation of discrete objects, performance, and the re-zoning, rebuilding, and reterritorializing of architectural spaces. Born in 1973, Gates grew up in West Chicago. He has exhibited widely, including such group exhibitions as the Whitney Biennial, New York (2010); dOCUMENTA 13 (2012); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Studio Museum, New York (2014); 56th Venice Biennial, Venice (2015); and Musée du quai Branly, Paris (2016). Solo exhibitions include Milwaukee Art Museum (2010); Seattle Art Museum (2011); MCA Chicago (2013); ‘The Black Monastic’ residency at Museu Serralves, Porto (2014); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan (2016); and National Gallery of Art (2017). Gates was awarded the inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics in 2013 and won the Artes Mundi 6 prize in 2015. In 2017, he was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur, and in 2018 he was the recipient of the Nasher Prize. Gates’s work is in the collection of many museums and public collections, such as the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Jimenez-Colon Collection, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Tate, London; Try-Me, Richmond, Virginia; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gates currently serves as the Chairman and Founder of the Rebuild Foundation and as Director of the Arts and Public Life Initiative at the University of Chicago, where he is Professor in the department of visual arts. He lives and works in Chicago.

Ragnar Kjartansson
Ragnar Kjartansson draws on the entire arc of art in his performative practice. The history of film, music, theatre, visual culture and literature find their way into his video installations, durational performances, drawing and painting. Pretending and staging become key tools in the artist's attempt to convey sincere emotion and offer a genuine experience to the audience. Kjartansson (b. 1976) lives and works in Reykjavík. The artist has had solo exhibitions at the Reykjavík Art Museum, the Barbican Centre, London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park, Washington D.C., the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the New Museum, New York, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and the BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna.  Kjartansson participated in The Encyclopedic Palace at the Venice Biennale in 2013, Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014, and he represented Iceland at the 2009 Venice Biennale. The artist is the recipient of the 2015 Artes Mundi’s Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, and Performa’s 2011 Malcolm McLaren Award. 

Markús Þór Andrésson, moderator
Markús Þór Andrésson (born 1975, Zürich) is chief curator of exhibitions and public engagement at the Reykjavík Art Museum. Prior to his work at the museum, he worked as an independent curator, writer and filmmaker. Together with his exhibition projects he has written in numerous art publications and directed several documentary films and television programs on art. Exhibitions and projects include an overview of Ragnar Kjartansson's work, God, I feel so Bad, in the Reykjavík Art Museum, 2017; a permanent display of Icelandic art and visual heritage, Points of View, in the Culture House in Reykjavík, 2015; a film based on the life and work of artist Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Time and Time and Again, created in collaboration with Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir, 2014; Sequences Real-Time Art Festival in Reykjavik, 2013; Imagine Being Here Now, Momentum - Nordic Biennial for Contemporary Art In Moss, 2011; and The End, the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennial 2009. Andrésson holds a degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, class of 2007.

About Reykjavik Art Museum
The museum exhibits work from Icelandic and international leading artists in Modern and Contemporary Art. It is also a platform for up-and-coming talents. The exhibitions in Reykjavík Art Museum span all the way from the historic to modern times, from the conventional to the outermost limits of art. The museum´s artworks are also on show in public buildings and in open areas around the city. Reykjavík Art Museum supervises the city´s art collection, including outdoor art, and possesses many of the best known works of Icelandic artists. The complete collection contains around seventeen thousand artworks. Many cultural activities take place in the museum: every year over a hundred events are held here, from lectures and seminars to unconventional concerts. Reykjavík Art Museum collaborates with numerous festivals, including Museum Night, Reykjavík Arts Festival, Iceland Airwaves, DesignMarch and Cultural Night. Education is an important part of the museum´s activities. More than 13,000 school children visit the museum every year.

About Nasher Sculpture Center
In the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Gormley, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, and Shapiro, among others. On view in the light-filled galleries of the Renzo Piano-designed building and amid the garden grounds is a rotating selection of works from the Collection, as well as important exhibitions of modern and contemporary sculpture. Conceived for the exhibition, study, and conservation of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center also presents a diverse array of educational and cultural programs in dialogue with the Collection and special exhibitions. It is also the home of the Nasher Prize, an annual, international award presented to a living artist in recognition of a significant body of work that has had an extraordinary impact on the understanding of sculpture. In addition to the indoor and outdoor gallery spaces, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe, and a store.

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