21st Serpentine Pavilion Black Chapel Designed by Theaster Gates Kickstarts an Exciting Season of Live Events, Featuring the Black Monks, Corinne Bailey Rae, Moses Boyd, and the Return of Park Nights

  • Home
  • News
  • 21st Serpentine Pavilion Black Chapel Designed by Theaster Gates Kickstarts an Exciting Season of Live Events, Featuring the Black Monks, Corinne Bailey Rae, Moses Boyd, and the Return of Park Nights

Theaster Gates Presents a New Series of Tar Paintings To Be Exhibited in the Pavilion

10 June – 16 October 2022

Sponsored by Goldman Sachs

Press View Tuesday 7 June, 9am to 1pm
RSVP essential click here

Press images available at serpentinegalleries.org/press

The 21st Serpentine Pavilion, Black Chapel, designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates will open on 10 June 2022. Black Chapel is realised with the support of Adjaye Associates with Goldman Sachs supporting the annual project for the eighth consecutive year. Left to right: Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel designed by Theaster Gates. Design render, exterior view © 2022 Theaster Gates Studio, courtesy: Serpentine, Theaster Gates © Rankin Photography

The opening of Black Chapel will kickstart a full season of creative and participatory events including experimental musical performances, sonic interventions, clay workshops, a panel discussion and a Japanese tea ceremony. Conceived as a space for gathering, meditation and participation, with an emphasis on sacred music, Black Chapel will become a platform for Serpentine’s live programme throughout the summer and beyond, offering reflection, connection and joy to the public.

Responding to Gates’ multidisciplinary practice using space, architecture, sculpture and material, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice, Serpentine, Yesomi Umolu and Guest Curator Bianca A. Manu have programmed live events in dialogue with Gates’ ambition to activate the Pavilion with artistic explorations of the monastic.

Drawn to the transcendental environment of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, Gates has produced a series of newtar works especially for Black Chapel. Determined to create a space that reflects the artist’s hand and sensibilities,seven panels hang from the interior structure. In these works, Gates honours his father’s craft as a roofer and uses roofing strategies and torch down, which requires an open flame to heat the material and affix it to the surface.

An operating bronze bell, salvaged from St. Laurence, a landmark Catholic Church that once stood in Chicago’s SouthSide, will stand next to the entrance of the Pavilion. Underscoring the erasure of spaces for convening and spiritual communion in urban communities, the historic bell will act as a call to assembly, congregation and contemplation throughout the summer’s events.

Highlights of the Programme include:

To mark the opening of the Pavilion, on 8 June 2022, Theaster Gates and Sir David Adjaye OBE will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, which will explore their work in art, architecture, urbanism and space-making.

Exploring sound and song through layered pianos, stripped-back beats and studio experimentation, The Vernon Spring, a solo adventure of composer and producer Sam Beste will play improvised and contemplative minimalist expressions. Each reflective reverberation will take advantage of the Pavilion acoustics while spotlighting the endless experimental possibilities of the sound of the piano.

In July, audiences will also be able to listen to some of London’s most acclaimed ensemble singers from The Choir of London Oratory, the UK’s senior professional Catholic church choir. The 14- member choir is internationally renowned for its working repertoire covering music from the Latin Rite, Gregorian chant and the present day with a special emphasis on 16th- and 17th-century polyphony and the Mass repertory of the late 18th and 19th centuries. KeikoUchida, a qualified Japanese tea ceremony master invites visitors to listen as she orates the history and philosophy of Japanese tea culture that initially developed as a Zen ritual in the 15th century as she performs the traditional meditative ritual while offering the audience a cup of matcha tea.

In August, highlights will also include multi-award winning and 2020 Mercury Music Prize shortlisted British jazz drummer, composer, record producer, bandleader and radio host Moses Boyd, who will perform a selection of musical pieces, bringing his progressive Jazz sound to Serpentine. Hailed as one of the hottest talents of contemporary BritishJazz, Boyd will take centre stage offering an experimental solo drum set inspired by his debut album, Dark Matter.

Black Chapel draws inspiration from many of the architectural typologies that ground the artist’s practice. The structure references the bottle kilns of Stoke-on-Trent in England, the beehive kilns of the Western United States, San Pietro and the Roman tempiettos and traditional African building structures such as the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon and the Kasabi Tombs of Kampala, Uganda. In recognition of Gates’ investigation into the making, labour and production of sculpture throughout his artistic practice, South London based community pottery studio Mud Gang Pottery C.I.C will offer workshops to children, families and anyone interested in clay in September. Gates’ Serpentine Pavilion 2022: Black Chapel follows The Question of Clay, a multi­ institution project featuring exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery (September 2021 – January 2022), White Cube (September – October 2021) and a two-year long research project at the V&A.

The multidisciplinary programme of events will culminate in October with performances by two­ times GRAMMY award-winning singer and songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae, and The Black Monks, Gates’ ensemble of musicians and singers rooted in southern musical traditions and eastern monastic traditions.

Serpentine’s Summer programme will also see the return of Park Nights, the interdisciplinary platform for live encounters in music, poetry and dance, running alongside activations by Serpentine Education and Civic. With further details announced soon, Park Nights 2022 will include performances by musician and composer Roscoe Mitchell. This performance is presented in partnership with the London Contemporary Music Festival and Wigmore Hall. Poet and musician Linton Kwesi Johnson, artist and filmmaker Josiane M.H. Pozi among other participants will also feature in the programme.

The Pavilion 2022 commission will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue designed by Joseph Logan and published in August 2022. It will feature international scholarship from a diverse range of leading and emerging scholars including Sir David Adjaye OBE, Jayden Ali, Jareh Das and Ryan Dohoney. Alongside these texts, an extensive conversation between Theaster Gates and Hans Ulrich Obrist will trace the development of the Pavilion and discuss wider concerns in his practice.

Theaster Gates said: “The name Black Chapel is important because it reflects the invisible parts of my artistic practice.It acknowledges the role that sacred music and the sacred arts have had on my practice, and the collective quality of these emotional and communal initiatives. Black Chapel also suggests that in these times there could be a space where one could rest from the pressures of the day and spend time in quietude. I have always wanted to build spaces that consider the power of sound and music as a healing mechanism and emotive force that allows people to enter a space of deep reflection and deep participation.”

Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, said: “We are so grateful for Theaster Gates’ Black Chapel. The architecture, the remarkable paintings he specially created for the space as well as the polyphonic programme of events it will catalyse, are astonishing. Black Chapel will bring spirituality around Gates’ extraordinary vision. We are thrilled to present this stunning Pavilion with our loyal partners and supporters, for all ofLondon’s people and visitors to come together and enjoy. Serpentine is proud to play a part in making Gates’ vision a reality, and for Serpentine’s Summer programme to build new connections between art and society. A platform for participation, live performances, with an emphasis on music, public engagement, rituals and the intensity of togetherness, Black Chapel will inspire structure and meaning. In parallel to Gates’ incredible programme, we are also delighted to see the return of Park Nights, the experimental, interdisciplinary, live platform that has supported many artists in the early stages of their careers as well as pioneering writers and thinkers from around the world.”

Yesomi Umolu, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice said: “As a built form and conceptual proposition, Black Chapel synthesises Theaster’s long standing commitment to fusing the secular with the sacred. Guided by the artist’s design and intentions, the programme of live events brings together a remarkably eclectic arrayof vocalists and musicians. It steadfastly invites the public to take respite in the pavilion’s hallowed chamber and lose themselves in the reverberations of voice and instrumentals. In these challenging times, the offer of a moment of contemplation or awakening to be experienced individually or collectively is needed more than ever.”

The 21st Serpentine Pavilion marks the eighth year of support from Pavilion Sponsors Goldman Sachs. Richard Gnodde, CEO, Goldman Sachs International, said: “Goldman Sachs is proud to partner with Serpentine for the eighth consecutive year on its Pavilion 2022. Theaster Gates’ striking design pays homage to creative placemaking, which through our firm’s long-standing collaboration and commitment to the arts, we are pleased to have helped bring to fruition. Above all, Theaster’s Pavilion provides a setting for reflection and contemplation in many different forms that the whole community can enjoy.”

Mikolaj Sekutowicz, CEO of Therme Art and Vice President of Therme Group, which supported the realisation and presentation of the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 designed by Theaster Gates, said: “The Serpentine’s annual public architecture programme illuminates the cultural transformations we must implement for the future of our cities and urban environments. Theaster Gates’ remarkable Pavilion, Black Chapel, provides a space for reflection, meditation and healing within the challenging dimensions of a city, embodying the urgency of creating environments for collective wellbeing.” This year marks the fourth consecutive year of partnership for Serpentine and Therme, the wellbeing leader, in support of the annual architecture programme.

Maja Hoffmann, Founder of the LUMA Foundation, an active supporter for 15 years of the Serpentine Galleries’ artistic programme and Pavilion Commissions (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2022) said: “I am thrilled to be supporting this year’s outstanding Serpentine Pavilion by Theaster Gates, an artist I admire. Theaster Gates’ practice is about transforming the built environment, injecting optimism and change in neighbourhoods and communities. An inventor of new models for co-existence, Gates has revolutionised the ways in which history and architecture are seen as living and evolving entities. I am delighted and honoured that the LUMA Foundation is among such a distinguished group of supporters, making this unique project reality.”

Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation, which acted as Responsible Materials Advisor for the Pavilion said: “It is an honour that Design for Freedom by Grace Farms is collaborating with Serpentine to assess ethical sourcing of the building materials for the 21st Serpentine Pavilion. This first completed international Design for Freedom project is accelerating the growing movement to eliminate forced labour from the building materials supply chain. Grace Farms looks forward to enhancing this partnership through shared programming this year in the U.S. at Grace Farms and at Serpentine.”


Theaster Gates (b. 1973) creates works that engage with space theory, land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, the artist redeems spaces that have been left behind. 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 non-profit platform for art, cultural development and neighbourhood 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 The Victoria and Albert Museum (2021), London, UK; Whitechapel Gallery (2013 and 2021), London, UK; 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); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012).

Gates is the twelfth recipient of the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts (2021). In 2020, Gatesreceived 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 Legion 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. Gates is currently included in A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration at the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi from April 9 -September 11, 2022; and in STILL ALIVE, featured at Aichi Triennale, Tokoname, Japan from July 30 – October 10,2022.

Serpentine Pavilion

This pioneering commission, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has presented the first UK structures by some of the biggest names in international architecture. In recent years it has grown into a highly anticipated showcase for emerging talents, from last year’s Sumayya Vally, Counterspace (South Africa), the youngest architect to be commissioned, and Frida Escobedo (Mexico), to Diebedo Francis Kere (Burkina Faso) and Bjarke Ingels (Denmark), whose 2016 Pavilion was the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world. The Serpentine Pavilion 2022 follows previous commissions by Olafur Eliason with Kjetil Thorsen, 2006, and Ai Weiwei with Herzog & de Meuron, 2012, among other cultural figures.

Black Chapel will be designed to minimise its carbon footprint and environmental impact, in line with Serpentine’s sustainability policy. The predominantly timber structure will be light-weight and fully demountable, with a focus on sustainably sourced materials and the reusability of the structure as a whole after its time installed at Serpentine. While the Pavilion begins its life in Kensington Gardens, it will be re-sited to a permanent location in the future. In 2021, the Pavilion programme evolved beyond its physical location for the first time and expanded with a series of Fragments placed across London. It also saw the launch of Support Structures for Support Structures, a fellowship programme initiated by Sumayya Vally, Counterspace, and Serpentine’s Civic Team, that supports up to ten artists and collectives working at the intersection of art, spatial politics and community practice.

Serpentine would also like to acknowledge the work and dedication of the late architect Richard Rogers to this yearly commission. Rogers was an integral part of the Serpentine Pavilion team and served as an Advisor since 2017.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services across investment banking, securities, investment management and consumer banking to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centres around the world.

Therme Group and Therme Art is a leading global wellbeing provider designing, developing, and operating the world’s largest wellbeing facilities. Its urban development proposition incorporates environmental concepts to re-integrate nature into everyday life. Through its cultural incubator Therme Art, it advances on its mission to provide wellbeing at the heart of cultural production. Therme Art is responsible for the outreach to creative communities and curates forums that provide an interdisciplinary platform for exchange. It works with internationally renowned and emerging artists and architects, to redefine conventional art viewing experiences.

The LUMA Foundation was established in 2004 by Maja Hoffmann in Zurich, Switzerland, to support artistic creation in the fields of visual arts, photography, publishing, documentary films and multimedia. Considered as a production tool for the multiple initiatives launched by Maja Hoffmann, the LUMA Foundation produces, supports and funds artistic projects that aim to deepen the understanding of issues related to the environment, human rights, education and culture.

Design for Freedom by Grace Farms reimagines architecture by raising awareness and inspiring responses to disrupt forced labour in the building materials supply chain. Grace Farms Foundation’s interdisciplinary cultural and humanitarian mission is to pursue peace through the platform of Grace Farms, a SANAA designed site for convening people across sectors. The 21st Serpentine Pavilion is the first completed international Design for Freedom by GraceFarms project.

Supporter Circle with thanks to Gagosian, Regen Projects and White Cube.

Gagosian is a gallery specializing in modern and contemporary art with nineteen locations across the United States,Europe, and Asia. In addition to its physical locations, Gagosian is at the forefront of the digital marketplace with innovative initiatives including the Artist Spotlight online platform and the Gagosian Premieres film series. The gallery’s in-house publishing program has produced nearly six hundred books, including catalogues raisonnes, scholarly exhibition catalogues, and a print and online magazine.

White Cube

White Cube’s public programme extends across four spaces: Bermondsey in South London; Mason’s Yard in St. James’s,London; Hong Kong Central district and White Cube Online. The gallery’s offices are also located in Paris and New York.Since its inception in 1993, White Cube has exhibited the work of many of the world’s most highly acclaimed contemporary artists.

This year’s Pavilion selection was made by Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, CEO Bettina Korek, Director of Construction and Special Projects Julie Burnell, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public PracticeYesomi Umolu, Project Curator Natalia Grabowska together with advisors Sir David Adjaye OBE and David Glover.

Black Chapel events will be free unless otherwise stated. Park Nights tickets £10/£8 (concessions). Booking is essential. Tickets available at the Serpentine. Please visit www.serpentinegalleries.org for more information.

The Serpentine Summer Season continues with exhibitions of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Alienarium 5 atSerpentine South (14 April- 4 September) and Back to Earth at the Serpentine North (22 June – 18 September).

The Serpentine Pavilion 2022 will be open every day from 10am to 6pm, excluding 30 June when it will close, re-opening at 1pm on 1 July.

For press information please contact

V Martin, PR Consultant, [email protected]; +44 7525 394 481

Nicolas Smirnoff, Head of Media Relations, [email protected]; +44 7570 291 018

Laura Gosney, Press Officer, [email protected]; 07741 650 686

Follow Serpentine

Instagram: @Serpentineuk

Twitter: @Serpentineuk

Facebook: @SerpentineGalleries