Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Photograph by:
Amanda Williams, American, born 1974  Search this
ink on photographic paper
H x W (sheet): 22 × 30 in. (55.9 × 76.2 cm)
H x W (image): 20 × 28 in. (50.8 × 71.1 cm)
digital prints
Place depicted:
Englewood, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States, North and Central America
2014-2016; printed 2020
Statement from the artist:
“From 2014-2015 Amanda Williams created a contemporary art project called Color(ed) Theory. Amanda covertly and without permission, painted empty houses in and around Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood that were slated for demolition. She developed a unique, culturally coded, monochromatic color palette based on hues found in primarily in consumer products marketed toward Black people along commercial corridors on Chicago’s South Side. The project emphasized how colors have socially constructed associations that are inextricably linked to race and class. The series explored how academic and theoretical definitions of color map across veiled language used in American media/popular culture to describe racially charged city spaces. What color is urban? What color is gentrification? What color is privilege? Williams then photographed each house, calling attention to the architectural details as well as their isolated context.”
A digital print color photograph of two clapboard houses painted a bright, golden yellow. The houses are situated side by side on a city street. Both houses are one and a half stories with peaked gable roofs. The house on the left is slightly smaller. It has the door on the left side, with a small wooden, uncovered porch in front and a small set of wooden stairs running to street level. There is a boarded up, originally two-paned window to the right of the first floor, a single small, empty window in the center of the second floor. The brown roof trim is the only element of the house that has not been painted yellow. The house to the right is larger and set higher off the ground with a covered, wooden front porch spanning the full width of the front. The boarded up front door is to the left, with a large, boarded up bay window to the right. Unpainted plywood covers the single window in the center of the second floor. The white trim of the house's roof and the grey shingled porch roof have also been left unpainted. The yellow paint doesn't quite extend to the edges of the second floor, leaving the original white showing along the roof and window. Both houses have trimmed grass and a sidewalk in front running parallel to the street. To the left, is one side of a two story white house and to the right is an alleyway. On the otherside of the alley, a white painted fence surrounds a lot with several large parked trailers. On the verso in graphite is the photographer's signature and inscription: [Amanda Williams 2014-2016 / COLOR(ED) THEORY: Currency Exchange, Safe Passage / Edition of 10].
African American  Search this
Advertising  Search this
Architecture  Search this
Art  Search this
Black geographies  Search this
Communities  Search this
Design  Search this
Finance  Search this
Housing  Search this
Photography  Search this
Poverty  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Urban planning  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, purchased through the American Women's History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Amanda Williams
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Color(ed) Theory Suite, 2014-2016
Visual Arts
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Media Arts-Photography
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture