Mel Ziegler received his MFA in sculpture from the California Institute of the Arts. He was awarded a residency at the Artpace Foundation in San Antonio, Texas and teaches at Vanderbilt University.
Eminent Domain was developed by Mel Ziegler and his partner Kate Ericson, in collaboration with a public housing tenants group. The project consisted of a paint chart based on the history of public housing and housing legislation in the United States. The chart serves as an alternative to conventional “clean” histories, and points out many ironies and contradictions in the perceptions of public housing and suburban housing issues. The chart includes such color names as “Eminent Domain,” as well as colors, which have been specifically matched to significant historic public housing structures like “Robert Taylor Homes Brick.” Each color name corresponds to a paragraph on the chart explaining its meaning and significance. Ziegler published 150,000 charts which were distributed free of charge. The paint colors are mixable, making it possible for anyone to paint his or her bedroom the color “Eminent Domain.”