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Tuesday, September 12, 2017 to Sunday, June 10, 2018


Smart Museum of Art



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Smart Museum of Art


Emmanuel Pratt’s interdisciplinary approach to regenerative placemaking on the South Side of Chicago mixes art, architecture, and community and economic development.

Radical [Re]Constructions connects the Smart Museum's space to Pratt’s ongoing work through the Sweet Water Foundation and the development of the Think-Do House and Perry Avenue Commons, a community hub and urban farm located two miles west of the Smart in a so-called “blighted” neighborhood. The installation features a large, three-dimensional representation of a house, set against the Museum’s central lobby wall and constructed from salvaged materials including wood that apprentices from the Sweet Water Foundation finished with the traditional Japanese shou sugi ban charring technique. Other elements include architectural wall drawings, video elements, and a functional front porch or stoop that extends into the Smart’s lobby and café space.

The installation also reaches out into the Museum’s sculpture garden. A network of sculptural, multifunctional furniture made from reclaimed wood by Sweet Water Foundation’s master carpenter and apprentices provides inclusive spaces to sit, meet, and eat.

As the Smart's 2017–2018 Interpreter in Residence, Pratt convenes a series of interdisciplinary dinners that examine a different theme connected to Radical [Re]Constructions: housing, work, health, and education.

Radical [Re]Constructions is Pratt and the Sweet Water Foundation’s first long-term museum project, and the sixth site-specific lobby installation in the Smart’s Threshold series.

Emmanuel Pratt is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation and founding member of axilL3C. Pratt earned his BArch from Cornell University, his MSAUD (Masters in Science of Architecture and Urban Design) from Columbia University, and is presently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning also from Columbia University. He is also the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University and teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences.

This Threshold commission is supported by the Smart Museum’s Contemporary Art Council and by UChicago Arts.

Presented in the Eunice Ratner Reception Gallery and Vera and A. D. Elden Sculpture Garden