About this artwork
For her series Color(ed) Theory, Amanda Williams repainted and photographed eight vacated and condemned houses in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, drawing attention to the issue of underinvestment in African American communities around the city. The artist painted the buildings in a palette of colors found in products and services marketed primarily toward Black people that she felt represented Black consumer culture: Harold’s Chicken Shack, Newport 100s, Crown Royal Bag, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Ultrasheen, Pink Oil Moisturizer, Currency Exchange, and Safe Passage.
Williams painted the houses with the help of family, friends, and other members of the community; their activity invited passersby to reflect on the complexities of race, place, and value in cities. The bright colors transformed buildings scheduled for demolition, which viewers might otherwise ignore, into sculptural objects. The series raises questions about the racial, social, and political forces shaping the city and their relationship to color: What color is poverty? What color is gentrification? It also highlights the racist history of urban strategies, including policies like redlining that have blocked Black Americans’ equal access to real estate and “white flight” out of cities and into suburbs.
- Amanda Williams (Architect)
- Color(ed) Theory: Crown Royal Bag
- Made 2016
- Inkjet print on 100% rag photo paper
- 56 × 81 cm (22 × 32 in.)
- Funds provided by the Architecture & Design Society