Amanda Williams: WE OUTSIDE

An African American woman in a '50s suburb setting mowing her home's lawn with a push mower, while smiling at the camera.

image / Johnson Publishing Company Archive. Courtesy Ford Foundation, J. Paul Getty Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Smithsonian Institution.


Amanda Williams (B.Arch. '97) is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Her creative practice employs color as an operative means for drawing attention to the complex ways race informs how we assign value to the spaces we occupy. Williams's installations, sculptures, paintings, and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and, in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space and ownership in America. Her breakthrough series Color(ed) Theory, a set of condemned South Side of Chicago houses, painted in a monochrome palette derived from racially and culturally codified color associations, was recently named by the New York Times one of the 25 most significant works of postwar architecture in the world. Her ongoing series, What Black Is This You Say?, is a multi-platform project that explores the wide range of meanings and conceptual colors that connote Blackness. Using her Instagram account as an initial platform to challenge and celebrate Black lives, the work has evolved into paintings, soundworks, and a year-long public installation in New York.

Introduction by Peter Robinson

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