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Amanda Williams

The Chicago-led U.S. entry at last summer’s Venice Architecture Biennale is preparing to make its national debut at Wrightwood 659 on Thursday, February 28. Titled Dimensions of Citizenship: Architecture and Belonging from the Body to the Cosmos, the exhibit explores the idea of citizenship and its relationship to architecture and design at every scale.

Organized by the School of the Art Institute and the University of Chicago, Dimensions of Citizenship features seven installations by interdisciplinary teams of architects, artists, and theorists. Prominent themes include the meaning of home, the right to public spaces, the role of civic monuments, and global migration.

While such concepts seem timely given the current political environment and debates regarding border walls, travel bans, and confederate war statues, Dimensions of Citizenshipmakes no direct mention of the current U.S. presidential administration.

The exhibit forgoes the rhetoric of soundbites and presidential tweets and instead broadens and “elevates the discourse on citizenship to notions of belonging, immigration, sovereignty, and ecology,” wrote Curbed’s Giovanna Dunmall of last year’s Biennale.

Originally scheduled to open February 15, the exhibit’s Chicago debut was ironically postponed last month due to its contents getting held for weeks longer than expected at an East Coast port of entry following its transatlantic trip from Italy. 

“It is worth noting, given the fact that this exhibition tackles topics of migration and boundaries, that the recent government shutdown complicated and no doubt contributed to the delay in the receipt of our shipment,” said Wrightwood 659 director Lisa Cavanaugh in a statement announcing the delay.

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