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Chicago Works: Amanda Williams

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220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

Trained as an architect, Chicago artist Amanda Williams creates work that uses sculpture and photography to respond to changing urban environments. Williams, who lives and works in Chicago’s AuburnGresham neighborhood, transforms elements of architecture and design into immersive sculptures that draw attention to the ways context dramatically informs the value of material, and by extension, the value of cities. For Williams, architecture and its fragments serve as a microcosm for larger social issues, and the artist invites viewers to consider the social, political, and racial narratives that support the devaluation of certain neighborhoods, such as Englewood on Chicago’s South Side. The exhibition presents a new series that is an extension of her breakout Color(ed) Theory project, from the first Chicago Architectural Biennial in 2015. For that project, Williams painted eight houses slated for demolition in the Englewood neighborhood with vivid colors inspired by Chicago’s South Side in order to draw attention to the racial undertones of discussions about urban design and decay. At the MCA, Williams uses bricks and siding from the painted houses that have since been demolished to highlight how demolition as a force of erasure, and the afterlife of building materials shape the lives of urban citizens. The exhibition is organized by MCA Curatorial Assistant Grace Deveney.

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