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5/1/21, 2pm - Sunday, 5/16, 6pm
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY and Online

On Saturday, May 1st, 2021, Storefront for Art and Architecture launches What Black Is This, You Say? a year-long public artwork initiative by Amanda Williams that transforms the organization’s facade. The project begins with collective painting sessions led by the artist on the first three Saturdays of May from 2-6 pm at Storefront’s gallery at 97 Kenmare Street. On Tuesday, June 1st from 6-8 pm, Storefront will host a virtual event with Amanda Williams in conversation with artist Cauleen Smith. The public artwork will be on view until May 2022, accompanied by a digital program of writings, works, and events released each month starting on June 1st, 2021 at

About the Project
What Black Is This,You Say? began as an informal response to #BlackoutTuesday, a social media protest campaign that invited the public to post black squares on Instagram. This “blackout” of communication on June 2nd, 2020 was intended to be a show of solidarity with Black lives and the calls for justice in response to the murder of George Floyd and many others before him.

“I’ll be honest. I wasn’t feeling the blackout. I hate stuff like that, but I caved. Wanted to be in solidarity. But color is everything to me. You can’t just say “black”…which one?” -Amanda Williams

Drawing upon her past work exploring color theory, Williams sought to bring attention to the plurality, complexity, and nuance of Black experience(s). Over the following five months, in order to challenge the black square as a monolithic representation, she posted 120+ shades or textures on Instagram – each with a corresponding caption. Together, they provide a rich palette of overlapping and divergent narratives and histories that inform Black identity.

At Storefront, Williams presents a public artwork that more deeply explores twelve of these shades, each one painted on one of the twelve moving panels of the gallery’s facade that serve as hinges between the public realm and the gallery interior. The work constitutes a permanent transformation of Storefront’s facade, which all subsequent exhibitions will navigate and build upon in various ways.

Alongside this public artwork, Storefront presents a digital program of visual, written, and live content at Each month from June 2021 until May 2022, a new shade will be explored through images and memories from the artist; commissioned texts from artists, writers, and cultural figures; and public submissions. Together, these discussions interrogate and contextualize commonly held narratives around Black culture, joy, spirituality, suffering, agency, labor, and more.

Visit to learn more and RSVP for upcoming programming.

Organized by
Storefront for Art and Architecture
5/1/21, 2pm - Sunday, 5/16, 6pm
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY and Online
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