For the fourth iteration of “off the wall”, the gallery has invited Chicago-based artist Amanda Williams, a participant in Chicago’s inaugural Architecture Biennial in 2015, to create site-specific public artworks on 6 bus benches located in the Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood. Trained as an architect, Williams is interested in how combining the disciplines of art and architecture might help make all the parts of a city thrive. She likes to use color, in this instance gold, as a way to illustrate spatial inequity by elevating humble materials and objects that might otherwise go unnoticed. Williams’ transformation of common materials– in this case bricks that the artist acquired from demolition sites on the south side, and shrouds in imitation gold leaf to emphasize ideas about our collective and often unchallenged acceptance of gold as both materially and socially valuable.
Williams’ “off the wall” project coincides with her “Chicago Works” exhibition at the MCA, her first solo museum show, as well as her garden project “Uppity Negress” at The Arts Club of Chicago, and her “Ease on Down”public art installation in the 27th Ward as part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art initiative.
Amanda Williams (American, b. 1974, lives Chicago, IL) received her Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) with an emphasis in Fine Art from Cornell University in 1997. She is an Efroymson Family Contemporary Art Fellow (2016-2017), the 2017 Pulitzer Arts Foundation Design Build awardee with Andres L. Hernandez, and a 3Arts Visual Arts Awardee (2014). In summer of 2017, Williams opened her first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, along with a site-specific garden installation, Uppity Negress, at The Arts Club of Chicago– both on view concurrently to her “off the wall” project. Williams is a highly sought after lecturer on the subject of art and design in the public realm; including talks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New Museum, Detroit, and the University of Chicago, among others. She recently served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Sam Fox School of Art + Design at Washington University. Williams lives and works on the south side, where she also serves on the Exhibition Design team for the Obama Presidential Center, anticipated to open in 2020.
“off the wall” is a public art initiative that invites artists to produce site specific installations throughout the Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood. The impetus for this project is to provide a more open platform for contemporary art that engages with the public at large on a daily basis. The series reaches a demographic much larger than the standard gallery-goers and provides an open-armed invitation to discover the arts and the potential they have to influence everyday life. The project is inspired by the success of the gallery’s “on the wall” project, which has been produced in the storefront windows of moniquemeloche since 2010. Past “off the wall” artists include Hank Willis Thomas, Joel Ross, and For Freedoms, featuring works by Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Zoë Buckman, Maria Gaspar, and Paula Crown. “off the wall” is generously supported by a grant from the Wicker Park Bucktown SSA #33.
September 1 – November 30
Ashland and Wabansia SW
Western and Belden NW