Theaster Gates The Gift And The Reneg 1400x875

Theaster Gates tarring in his Chicago studio. 2023. Photographer: Ryan Stefan. Courtesy of Theaster Gates Studio.

Upcoming Exhibition

Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege

May 17 - October 20
Brown Foundation Gallery


Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege presents work by the acclaimed Chicago-based artist, featuring large-scale paintings, sculptures, and installations that highlight the seen and unseen dynamics of Freedmen’s Town in Houston’s Fourth Ward. Throughout his career, Theaster Gates has soulfully elevated our understanding of Black labor, materials, place, and community to revitalize underrecognized neighborhoods by combining urban planning and a multifaceted art practice. His work powerfully highlights the true value Black spaces hold—although often devalued—as sites of American resilience, liberation, and redemption. Gates is a shape-shifter, a world-builder, and an artist who singularly connects the dots in both poetic and pragmatic ways. For over 20 years he has worked to transform the Southside of Chicago through various initiatives aimed at preserving and continuing the neighborhood's vital role as a site for Black creativity. His multifaceted practice, which demonstrates the dual importance of building community and exposing power structures, has made him one of the most significant artists working in our time.


Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege was developed throughout the planning and engagement process of Rebirth in Action, and is organized by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and co-curated by Ryan N. Dennis, Senior Curator and Director of Public Initiatives, and Hesse McGraw, Executive Director.


Presenting sponsorship for Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege is provided by Mellon Foundation. Generous support is provided by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston exhibitions are made possible by the patrons, benefactors, and donors to CAMH’s Major Exhibition Fund: Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Louise Jamail, Sissy and Denny Kempner, Dillon Kyle and Sam Lasseter, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Elisa and Cris Pye, Louisa Stude Sarofim, and Mary Ann and F. Carrington Weems Foundation.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and the Texas Commission on the Arts.



Exhibition labels are available in English and Spanish.

Educational Materials

Teacher Guide, Content Review, and Large Print Labels to come soon!