Where art and Miami Beach mix

Artist Theaster Gates Contemplates the Idea of Work on the Sidelines of Art Basel

Theaster Gates is based in Chicago

By Justin Finch and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel
|  Friday, Dec 7, 2012  |  Updated 8:19 AM EDT
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At Theaster Gates' exhibit at Locust Projects in Miami there are no paintings on the walls, not much color either. But there is art and its messy, physical process, Gates said

At Theaster Gates' exhibit at Locust Projects in Miami there are no paintings on the walls, not much color either. But there is art and its messy, physical process, Gates said

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There's an art show opening Thursday night that is aimed at changing the idea of what is and how it looks.

At Theaster Gates' exhibit at Locust Projects in Miami there are no paintings on the walls, not much color either. But there is art and its messy, physical process, Gates said.

"It seems like Basel is the right counterpoint to, you know, making pots," he said.

PHOTOS: Inside Art Basel

Gates' show is called the "Soul Manufacturing Corporation.The Chicago-based artist, along with three potters, tone down the glamour of art, and crank up the grinding labor.

Gates said that this too is art, in its purest form.

"There's been such focus on the end. The end product. The end, sparkly, blingy, industrious thing," he said.

If the shelves of pots, and rows of handmade bricks resemble a factory, it's by design.

There's even a reader to keep workers entertained, which is a tradition borrowed from Cuban cigar factories. Gates hopes his show speaks to all artists, especially those in South Florida.

"It's a chance to call out other local makers to say, ' What do you think about this stuff? And, do you want to be present with this stuff?'" he said.

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