September 11, 2015

Vacancy: Urban Interruption and (Re)generation

Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago
Amanda Williams, Safe Passage and Currency Exchange, from the series Color(ed) Theory, 2015.

Vacancy features the work of artist-architects that challenge the identity, value and politics of empty or abandoned space. Through three multi-tiered and multi-located projects led by Andres L. Hernandez, Emmanuel Pratt and Amanda Williams, the notion of “emptiness” is reconceived, redefined and rebuilt. The featured works demonstrate how architectural practice builds on art and activist strategies to address racial, gender and class inequities and drives social change. The exhibition extends beyond the gallery through site-responsive projects around the city into neighborhoods that have a disproportionate amount of vacant buildings and land, and are further punctuated by a lack of community resources. Projects include aquaponics systems to grow healthy food in any location, built environments of refuge for women of color in the public realm, and performances inspired by the stories of Chicago public housing residents. Though vastly different in content, the artists share strategies that turn the empty into open—as places for building, sharing, remembering and regenerating. The projects in Vacancy seek to catalyze social change and to present open space as a site of imaginative possibility.

Vacancy: Urban Interruption and (Re)generation is a partner exhibition of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial and a featured program of Chicago Artists’ Month. The exhibition catalogue, including an essay by Mimi Zeiger and an interview with the artists and curator, will be available October 10.

Curated by Neysa Page-Lieberman.

Featured projects:
Cabrini-Green and Other Urban Legends 
Andres L. Hernandez in collaboration with Urban Vacancy
Research Initiative and former residents of the Cabrini-Green Homes

Constructed Ecology of Absence 
Emmanuel Pratt in collaboration with Sweet Water Foundation, McCall Design Group, Katherine Darnstadt / Latent Design, Chantelle Brewer / Ross Barney Architects, Chicago Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education (CTE), Max Sansing and Agape Werks.

Harriet’s Refuge: A Safe Passage for Free Movement in Public Space 
Amanda Williams in collaboration with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Related project:
Stop Telling Women to Smile
Newly commissioned mural by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh installed in the Wabash Arts Corridor near the Glass Curtain Gallery

Programming and additional information:
Vacancy exhibition page
Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces
Wabash Arts Corridor

Exhibition information: Mark Porter, [email protected] / T +312 369 6643
Press inquiries: Cara Birch, [email protected] / T +312 369 8695


Vacancy: Urban Interruption and (Re)generation

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