Themes of journey and memory propel Radcliffe Bailey’s poetic installations and sculptures. This door was reclaimed from a neighborhood of row houses in Houston’s Third Ward. A predominantly Black community originally occupied by freed slaves, it was known in the early 20th century for its rich music scene and economic vibrancy, but freeway development and urban flight have left the neighborhood a shell of its old self. Today, its community members continue to advocate for affordable housing.

Along this door’s edge, remnants of multiple locks suggest past owners’ commitments to protecting their home, while Bailey’s addition of a carved antique lock from Mali suggests ancestral homelands in Africa. His gilding of the door’s front creates a warm glow evoking the richness of Third Ward’s cultural history. By contrast, that gold also highlights the back of the door, which Bailey left bare save for a handmade chain of bottlecaps—a signal of both the neighborhood’s hardships and what Bailey calls a “make-do” attitude.