Charles Gaines

Charles Gaines © Photo by Fredrik Nilsen

Charles Gaines (b. 1944) is an American conceptual artist and lecturer in Los Angeles. He was the first African-American to receive a master’s degree from the School of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. From 1967 to 1990, he was a professor of art at California State University in Fresno; since 1989, he has taught at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Santa Clarita. In 2015, Gaines was a participant in the 56th Venice Biennale. In 2021, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented a solo exhibition. In 2023, he received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. In his drawings, photo series, and video installations, Gaines critically examines issues of aesthetics, politics, and philosophy.


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