„Track + Field or Run, Nigger, Run“ - Theaster Gates

Written by Haus der Kunst,


Jesse Owens (1913–1980) grew up in times of strict racial segregation in the United States and his achievements were accordingly belittled. At the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, this exceptional athlete won several gold medals under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler. His successes there were recorded by the controversial director and photographer Leni Riefenstahl, who created the propaganda film “Olympia”. This material is now reincorporated as part of a newly-created film by Gates, presented in the current exhibition „Black Chapel“ at Haus der Kunst, which affords a new critical view of racist image politics. In addition, the exhibition shows Jesse Owens‘ collection of more than 1,800- records, that belong to Theaster Gates today. The clash of the racist ideologies in the US and Germany throughout Jesse Owens‘ lifetime, is particularly insightful in the context of the fraught history of Haus der Kunst.

Through its programme, Haus der Kunst affirms that the trajectories of contemporary art are global, diverse, unpredictable and unbounded by discriminatory and prejudiced limits. The institution, its team and the artists presented in the Museum, are committed to those values.

The exhibition „Theaster Gates. Black Chapel“ is on view until 16.08.20 at Haus der Kunst.