Reflections/Refractions at the Stony Island Arts Bank
Reflections/Refractions at the Stony Island Arts Bank


An 88-page hardcover coffee table book, showcasing images of Corinne Bailey Rae, and the objects and artworks at The Stony Island Arts Bank, shot by Koto Bolofo.

The book features an essay from Dr. Honey Crawford, a forward by Theaster Gates, and a transcript of the talk between Corinne & Theaster at The Black Chapel, Serpentine Pavilion, in October 2022.


Koto Bolofo was born in South Africa in 1959 and raised in Great Britain. Bolofo has photographed for prestigious magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ. He has created award-winning short films for acclaimed international film festivals, as well as advertising campaigns for brands including Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Dom Pérignon. His books with Steidl include Venus, I Spy with my Little Eye, Something beginning with S, Vroom!, La Maison and Grande Complications. Bolofo is the distinguished recipient of the 2022 Lucie Award for Achievement in Advertising in photography.

Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. He creates work that focuses on space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, he creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” Gates smartly upturns art values, land values and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise—one defined by collective desire, artistic agency and the tactics of a pragmatist.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; 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). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and was 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, 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 the College and also serves as the Senior Advisor for Cultural Innovation and Advisor to the Dean. Gates is Director of Artists Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College Museum of Art and the 2018/2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute (GRI).

Designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and built in 1923, the bank at 68th and Stony Island was once a vibrant community savings and loan. Today, the restored Stony Island Arts Bank provides the South Side of Chicago with 17,000 square feet of space for innovation in contemporary art and archival practice. At the time of its construction, the bank was a symbol of the growing prosperity of the South Side, which was experiencing a building boom in the early decades of the 20th century. In 1979 the Bank was closed and it fell into disrepair. In 2012, upon threat of demolition, artist Theaster Gates purchased the building from the City of Chicago for $1. Gates, whose practice harnesses the power of space, objects and the spirit within them, saved the landmark from destruction. Gates sold marble from the original Bank build as “bank bonds” on the commercial art market to finance the renovation and remediation of the building. Today, the Stony Island Arts Bank is a vibrant hub of artistic, archival and cultural activity on the South Side of Chicago. In addition to serving as a gallery, institution and cultural space, the Arts Bank also hosts a variety of events including exhibitions, performances, film screenings and lectures.

Dr. Honey Crawford is an Assistant Professor of English and Dramatic Literature at New York University. She studies Afro Brazilian cultural performance as both a scholar and a practitioner, and she positions women-driven spectacles of black consciousness in the 20th- 21st century against prevalent discourse on the black diaspora and performance studies. Her research privileges embodied knowledge and oral traditions while investigating attempts to capture or contain these forms in literature and text-centric works. Her current book project, titled Negra Demais!: Overwhelming Performances of Afro Brazilian Femininity, pays close attention to theatrical traditions that press against the bounds of propriety and indulge in an aesthetic of abundance, identifying a preoccupation with the transgressive potential held in performances of black feminine power.

Dr. Crawford has married her research interests with practical contributions to the field of theatre and performance, most recently as a dramaturgical researcher with Front Row Productions for the forthcoming Broadway production of Black Orpheus. In this role, she works with playwright Nilo Cruz, lyricist Siedah Garret, and composer Carlinhos Brown as a cultural consultant through the development of the script. She previously completed dramaturgical researcher for Lynn Nottage in her adaptation of Vinicius de Moraes’ Orfeu da Conceição, also with Front Row Productions.


*final design and layout of the book are subject to production changes*

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