The Black Madonna

A talk by Theaster Gates

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Maxwell-Cummings Auditorium
1379A Sherbrooke Street West

March 20, 2018 - 6:30 pm


DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art and Art Speaks are proud to present The Black Madonna, a talk by the artist Theaster Gates.

Theaster Gates is internationally renowned for his interdisciplinary practice that spans sculpture, installation, painting, sound, performance and urban interventions. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, Gates’ work focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” Gates smartly upturns art values, land values, and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

For this special event, Gates will discuss his latest research for The Black Madonna, a multi-part project that comprises a series of exhibitions and performances which draw on a range of sources, from influential depictions of the Madonna in European churches and museums, to the extensive print archive of the Johnson Publishing Corporation, the Chicago-based publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines. This exploration of the history of the black female and her image will manifest in exhibitions in four institutions in 2018.

The Black Madonna will be presented at Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland (June 9–October 21, 2018); Sprengel Museum, Kurt Schwitters Prize Exhibition, Hannover, Germany (from June 22, 2018); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (September 2018–January 2019); and Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (from October 2018).

Please note that the talk will be in English. Limited number of seats: first come, first seated.

Facebook Event


Theaster Gates (b. 1973, Chicago, USA) lives and works in Chicago. Gates has exhibited and performed at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize in 2013 and the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018 and is the recent recipient of the Légion d’Honneur, awarded 2017.


Portrait of Theaster Gates by Sarah Pooley, courtesy of the artist and White Cube


Art Speaks

Art Speaks hopes to create dynamic conversations and further our understanding of the world through the lens of contemporary art. The organization is dedicated to presenting a platform of international artists and thinkers to provoke and stimulate thought. All events are free and open to the public.