Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates is the winner of the New School’s inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. The award, which will be given biannually, includes $15,000 in prize money, and the New School will continue to provide support to Gates’s projects in the long term, be it through academic or other means.
Gates was selected largely due to his work on “The Dorchester Projects.” Over the last six years, Gates has transformed a group of run-down buildings in the economically challenged South Side of Chicago into a thriving community center with a library, performance space and kitchen. Gates, who has exhibited his work internationally, will hold a seminar at the New School on his work in 2013 as part of the prize.
The new award is named for philanthropist and art collector Vera List (1908-2002), who helped found the New Museum in 1977. List was known for her support of arts and educational institutions, and her special interest in promoting social justice. The prize, which marks the 20th anniversary of the List Center at the New School, was awarded by a jury of artists, curators and writers chaired by curator Okwui Enwezor.