As the recipient of the 2011 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship, Theaster is creating an installation for the Seattle Art Museum based around the Dr. Wax record collection now housed at Dorchester Projects. Theaster’s Listening Room will be an intimate space to listen to and browse the closing inventory of Dr. Wax, a small record store on Chicago’s South Side. The entirety of the collection will be shipped to Seattle, representing 8,000 records from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Many of the records are incredibly valuable relics of American history. In addition to one of the best jazz collections in all of Chicago, the collection also includes a complete Adventures in Negro History series, A Knock At Midnight (Dr. King), Moms Mabley (black female comedian), and a black ventriloquist named Richard – records that you cannot find on shelves and that you may never be able to experience anywhere else. The restored collection points to bodies of knowledge that leave public presence yet retain their potency when given the right space. While the records are in Seattle, they will be digitized. This gives us the ability to share the collection with schools, groups, and people all over the world. The Listening Room will challenge and practice the creation of meaning inside and outside the dominant culture. It will also be a place to relax and to enjoy Dr. Wax’s cultural legacy.
Theaster Gates: The Listening Room
Seattle Art Museum
Dec. 9, 2011 – July 1, 2012