Romi Crawford is Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is co-author of The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago (Northwestern University, 2017) and editor of Fleeting Monuments for the Wall of Respect (Green Lantern, 2021).

Theaster Gates (b. 1973, Chicago, IL) lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012).

In 2020, Gates received the Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities. He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and a recipient of the Légion d'Honneur in 2017. He was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018, as well as the Urban Land Institute’s J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and serves as the Senior Advisor for Cultural Innovation and Advisor to the Dean at the Harris School of Public Policy.


Courtesy of Kristie Kahns
Sampada Aranke (PhD, Performance Studies) is an Assistant Professor in the Art History, Theory, Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Her research interests include performance theories of embodiment, visual culture, and black cultural and aesthetic theory. Her work has been published in e-flux, Artforum, Art Journal, ASAP/J, October, and Trans-Scripts: An Interdisciplinary Online Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at UC Irvine. She has written catalogue essays for Sadie Barnette, Rashid Johnson, Faith Ringgold, Kambui Olujimi, Sable Elyse Smith, and Zachary Fabri. She is the recipient of the 2021 Art Journal award for her article Blackouts and Other Visual Escapes. She's currently working on her book manuscript entitled Death's Futurity: The Visual Life of Black Power.

Blackouts and Other Visual Escapes.”  Art Journal, 79, Oct. 2020. 

Bag Lady in Flight.” ASAP/Journal, 27, Aug. 2020.

Material Matters: Black Radical Aesthetics and the Limits of Visibility.“ E-Flux, 79, Feb. 2017.
Stefano Harney is Honorary Professor in the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. With Fred Moten, he is author of The Undercommons: fugitive planning and black study (2013) and All Incomplete (2021) both from Minor Compositions/Autonomedia.

Fred Moten is interested in social movement, aesthetic experiment and black study. Moten is a member of a bunch of collectives including the Harris Moten Quartet, Moved by the Motion, Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective, the Institute for Physical Sociology, the Center for Convivia Research and Autonomy, the Exodus Reading Group and the Anti-Colonial Machine. He has also worked with Arika, Kevin Beasley, Renee Gladman, Zun Lee, Jennie C. Jones, Renée Green, George Lewis, Harmony Holiday, and Gerald Cleaver & Brandon Lopez, among many others. Moten’s latest book, written with Stefano Harney, is All Incomplete (Mino Compositions/Autonomedia, 2021). He lives in New York City and works at New York University.