Stacks on Stacks on Stacks, 2017. Acrylic, plaster, marble dust, ink, imitation goldleaf on pegboard (49 piece), 5 x 7 inches each.
It’s a Goldmine/Is the Gold Mine?, 2016. Imitation gold metal leaf on salvaged Chicago brick, dimensions variable.
Color(ed) Theory Series: Flamin' Red Hots (Demolition Bus), 2018. Color Photograph, 21.125 x 31.125 inches, framed, 19.625 x 29.625 inches, unframed, Edition 2 of 6.
Just Practice Justice, 2018, Neon, 87.5 x 6.5 x 6 inches.
Amanda Williams (b. Evanston, 1974) is both a visual artist and trained architect from Cornell University whose practice lives at the intersection between art and architecture. Her projects use color as a lens to highlight the complexities, politics and intersections of race, place and value. She is widely known for her series, Color(ed) Theory, where she painted the exterior of condemned houses on Chicago’s South Side. The work raises questions about the state of urban space and equity in America and the invisible policies and forces that have misshapen inner cities.
Amanda Williams was selected to represent the United States at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale in collaboration with Andres L. Hernandez and Shani Crowe. Amanda has been commissioned to design the forthcoming Shirley Chisholm Monument in Brooklyn along with Olalekan B. Jeyifous. Her work from the “What black is this you say?” series is included in the exhibition The Long Dream at the MCA Chicago, and in an ongoing collaborative project with the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. Past exhibitions include Chicago Works: Amanda Williams, a solo exhibition at the MCA Chicago and A Way, Away (Listen While I Say), a public project with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. She is a United States Artists Fellow, Efroymson Family Contemporary Arts Fellow, and recipient of the 2020 3Arts Next Level/Spare Room award. Amanda also sits on the multidisciplinary Exhibition Design team for the Obama Presidential Center and is the inaugural Artist-In-Residence at Smith College. She lives and works on Chicago’s South Side.
In our latest online edition of MoMA’s ArtSpeaks program, a member of our staff shares personal impressions of an artwork in the galleries. Here, Sean Anderson, associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, talks about Amanda Williams’s Color(ed) Theory Suite (2014–16), in which condemned houses in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood are, however briefly, made visible again by members of the community.
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Amanda Williams responds to Blackout Tuesday, a viral Instagram movement in reaction to recent police brutality and racism, with her new series: What Black Is This, You Say?
“My beginning of the series was actually a little bit of a pushback both of the need for people to think there has to be an immediate answer, usually not a well thought out answer, and simultaneously that Blackness is monolithic,” Williams said. “So, all Black people need to get on board with subscribing to a certain way of expressing Blackness, or frustrations with injustice. And there’s less and less tolerance for more than one way to do that.”
In lieu of her Open House Lecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design scheduled for April 2, 2020 that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Williams speaks with Sala Elise Patterson about her work, purpose, and path.
Review of Amanda Williams' Colored Theory series and surrounding work.
Amanda Williams’s Cadastral Shaking (Chicago v1), which depicts a redlined map of Chicago that has been rearranged in effort to imagine how the city’s rampant inequality could be reconfigured, is currently on loan to newly inaugurated Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous won the inaugural commission for She Built NYC with their monument proposal for Prospect Park.
Review of Dimensions of Citizenship at Wrightwood 659.
Review of Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos at Wrightwood 659, Chicago.
Review of the United States Pavilion Dimensions of Citizesnship at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Profile of Amanda Williams by Ted Loos.
This year's Venice Architecture Biennale shaped for the first time by Chicagoans.
Recipients were selected based on their leadership and contribution to the Black community through various industries, including art and culture, health and medicine, technology, business, community empowerment, civil rights, education, youth outreach, and immigration rights. While the work of these individuals has always been important, their dedication has been vital in overcoming significant challenges facing minority communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rising racial injustice and calls for change.
“As a proud Black man and Chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, we are excited to honor the contributions of these remarkable leaders,” said 28th Ward Alderman Jason C. Ervin. “Our history, which often goes overlooked, is the foundation of what makes our diverse and thriving city so great. We look forward to continuing our work with the Mayor and community leaders to advocate for our Black residents.”
Arts and Culture Award
Cecil McDonald, Clifton Henri, Nick Cave, Dorian Sylvain, Candace Hunter, Amanda Williams, Damon Locks, Tonika Johnson, and Okunola Jeyifous