Color(ed) Theory: Pink Oil Moisturizer

Photograph by
Williams, Amanda, American, born 1974
2014-2016; printed 2020
ink on photographic paper
H x W (sheet): 22 × 30 in. (55.9 × 76.2 cm)
H x W (image): 20 × 30 in. (50.8 × 76.2 cm)
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 a pink painted house within a wintry city landscape. The clapboard house appears on the right side of the image, behind a delapidated black chain link fence. Next to the house, on the left, is an empty lot, also with chain link fence. Snow covers the ground and the street in front, from which the image is captured. The square, four-sided house is one and half stories, plus a basement, and has a peaked gable style roof with dentil decorative moldings along the trim. The door is on the left and there's a small, covered front porch. There is a large, central window on the second floor, and what would have been a large, triple-paned window on the main floor, along with two small windows on the basement level. All of the windows and the door have been boarded up, and several of the front steps are broken. The entire structure has been painted pink except for the decorative roof trim of the house and the trim on the porch roof, both of which appear a dingy grey. There is a white square with a red "X" just to the left of the front door. There is a bare winter tree leaning across the front of the house from the right and several more trees stand in the empty lot on the left side of the image. An elevated train track runs behind the house, with a partial stone embankment and a rusted, metal-sided trestle crossing the street that runs perpendicular to the house. The sky is grey and snow is falling. On the verso in graphite is the photographer's signature and inscription: [Amanda Williams 2014-2016 / COLOR(ED) THEORY: Pink Oil Moisturizer / Edition of 10].
Place depicted
Englewood, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States, North and Central America
Color(ed) Theory Suite, 2014-2016
Visual Arts
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Media Arts-Photography
digital prints
Beauty culture
Race discrimination
Urban life
Urban planning
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
2 image(s)