Beauty Is a Basic Service: Theology and Hospitality in the Work of Theaster Gates
by Maria Fee
Publication Date: Apr 11, 2023
List Price: $32.00
Format: Paperback, 123 pages
Imprint: Fortress Press
Publisher: 1517 Media
Parent Company: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Read Our Review of Beauty Is a Basic Service: Theology and Hospitality in the Work of Theaster Gates
Grounded on a passionate belief in the integrative and unifying function of art that further incarnates God’s hospitality, the book argues that the projects of Chicago artist Theaster Gates are theological sites, places to encounter God and his truth concerning place, people, and things. By exploring Gates’ practices, attention is drawn to corollary actions of God’s care, reconciliation, and vivification of creation and culture. Hence, Gates’ hospitality points to God’s hospitality.
These qualities then become the framework of a theology of hospitality, which provides a robust paradigm for Christian discipleship and mission. The study gathers the work of theologians, artists, as well as other scholars from a variety of discourses and various traditions to advocate holistic stewardship of God’s creation. These diverse voices comprise a rich conversation of theology and aesthetics to exhibit the way art can critique and resist various modes of Western detachment.
Indeed, hospitality is paramount to this end, especially amid rising hostilities concerning land management. Gates’ art programs defy the denigration of place, people, and things by engendering practices that validate creation and culture. By assessing Gates’ work, a type of faith is exhibited that stretches beyond theological assertions to also comprise reviving embodied transactions.