Who’s the man in charge of designing the latest hot spot at this week’s Art Basel Miami Beach? None other than Chicago social practice artist Theaster Gates, who has created a site-specific installation for Prada Mode, the luxury brand’s new members-only night club that is blending contemporary art, music, and dining.
Gates currently has a show, “The Black Image Corporation,” at Fondazione Prada in Milan (on view through January 13, 2019) that presents images from the archives of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company. The archives, which include the magazines Jet and Ebony, now belong to the Rebuild Foundation, Gates’s nonprofit dedicated to preserving Chicago’s African American culture and revitalizing the city’s South Side.
His installation at Prada Mode is an outgrowth of that project, featuring striking black-and-white photographs of African American subjects who were published in Johnson magazines.
Prada believes that “Theaster’s work has a profound ability to engage the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity,” a representative of the company told artnet News. Prada Mode hopes to spark conversations about contemporary culture and society while functioning as “an exclusive destination and a discreet, elegant retreat from the daily clamor of high-intensity cultural engagements during Art Basel Miami Beach.”