In my eyes, there are two reactions to Theaster Gates. The first, who is this man? The second, I love this man. Gates inspires rapturous attention from his audiences and his artistic career has flourished exponentially in the past decade. But this is not about what Gates has done., It's about who Gates is and continues to be for the public at large.
I am not an artist but I see in Gates a creative force that is unparalleled. Others perhaps feel the same way, too. His latest exhibition then, is a reminder of his place as an important, even critical cultural figure for the city of Chicago and for lovers of the arts in general. Gates is a cultural hero, someone to admire, to study, to find purpose in with each new career move.
Theaster Gates is my cultural hero. So too are Zadie Smith and artist Lorna Simpson.