THEASTER GATES: Afro-Mingei – White Cube Gallery
American artist Theaster Gates presents a new body of work at The White Cube Mason’s Yard, London. Regarding the title, ‘Afro’ represents African-American culture and the hair symbolism of the 1960s and 70s and ‘Mingei’ is a Japanese term for objects made by local craftsmen. Guests at the private view were surprised by a quasi-spiritual, improvised performance by an organist and gospel/blues singer. The artist began inviting anyone who’d had a hard day at work to step into the centrepiece sculptural wooden cube surrounding the organist – for some kind of totemic healing, perhaps.
As the respectfully distant attendees slowly gathered, the artist sought to dismantle the detachment, typical of wider society and even more marked in British culture, by inviting them to get ever closer to ‘the cube’ until they were within touching distance and pretty much squashed together. The distant and hesitant were soon a united flock.
White Cube Gallery, Mason’s Yard, Mayfair, London. Exhibition runs 24 May – 22 June 2019