Demolition reveals Cabrini Green (...red, orange and blue, too)

February 8, 2010

(photo by Lee Bey)
(photo by Lee Bey)

The Cabrini Green public housing building at 660 W. Division is coming down.‚  As demolition workers pound the 15-story concrete slab into oblivion, take note of something beside the spectacle of crumbling concrete and the hair-like strands of‚  exposed rebar:

There is color.

Look closely the photo above. Demolition unmasks the building's drab grid-like face, revealing apartments that were painted in bright orange, reds, blues and greens; a Mondrian large-scale and in 3D. I hadn't noticed this until Lisa Lenoir, who was a fashion editor at the Sun-Times during my time at the paper, mentioned it to me a few days ago.

Lisa drew a nice parallel between the predominantly-black Cabrini Green's vividly painted units and the simple and brightly colored homes in Africa and the Caribbean. "We are a diaspora," she said. I think she's on to something:


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)