Concrete & Adrift: On the Poverty Line

Concrete & Adrift: On the Poverty Line

An invitational exhibition featuring regional and national contemporary artists addressing poverty and homelessness. Pairing with AMoA’s exhibition showcasing beggars in Rembrandt’s history etchings (Sordid & Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings Selections from the John Villarino Collection), contemporary American artists share the first floor gallery during the Spring exhibit period in Concrete & Adrift: On the Poverty Line. This exhibition was juried from over 200 regional and national submissions, and features 39 contemporary artists from around the United States, working in a variety of media. Concrete & Adrift confronts a number of issues facing those in poverty and homelessness, two subjects that are often underrepresented and misunderstood in our society today.

Poverty may not mean what you think.  The federal government updates its official measure of poverty each year, a measure that’s easily accessible and widely used.  Unfortunately, it’s largely meaningless.  
The reality is worse than the official numbers.  Just how poor does someone have to be in order to live 
“in poverty?”  The answer to that question ought to consider what it actually costs to live these days.  No frills, no luxuries, just breaking even with frugal living and careful money management.” 
 – David T. Britt, United Way of Central Louisiana

Throughout history, artists have used their craft to attempt to document and make sense of the world around them. The artists in this show do just that, though their subject is one which many overlook or choose to ignore. According to recent estimates, approximately 40 million people live in poverty and a greater 
number are barely above the poverty line. Everyone encounters at least one person living in poverty or homelessness daily, whether they notice it or not. Poverty and homelessness have been issues for hundreds of years all over the world and are issues that everyone encounters daily whether or not they experience it firsthand. Sordid & Sacred and Concrete & Adrift both show the topic from two far separate historical
periods, and in different styles.

I learned a lot from the works submitted to the call for artists. I had certain ideas about the subjects I 
expected to see reflected in the works.  Once I began reviewing the work, I was compelled to broaden my thoughts on the subject, including but not limited to immigration, gentrification, and artists who struggle themselves. The works in this exhibition prove that beauty can be found in some of the most unexpected places….and faces.” 
- Catherine Pears, Executive Director, Alexandria Museum of Art

In this exhibition, AMoA worked with artists to bring the discussion to the forefront. Exploring ideas of feeling invisible, overlooked, misunderstood, and more, those living in poverty and homelessness experience difficulties far beyond the financial.  This exhibition strives to bring some of those issues to light and confront some of the associated stereotypes and generalizations. Some of the artists work from their own experience and memory, having experienced these issues firsthand. The exhibition is separated into thematic sections: Portrait; shelter; isolation & invisibility; poverty, immigration, and food; and location although multiple works address more than one theme. Each object label includes an explanation or story connected with the creation and meaning of the work in question.

AMoA has partnered with area organizations that help those in poverty throughout the exhibition as well in hopes to aid those struggling with poverty in homelessness beyond simply bringing the issues to the forefront. During the exhibition, AMoA will hold a number of events, including film screenings, an artist talk, and a panel discussion to further connect the art with the issues it confronts.

Visit AMoA from March 1 through June 22, 2019 for this exhibition and its associated events!

Exhibition Catalog

Free Exhibition Related Events:

Afternoon with an Artist: Aron Belka • Saturday, May 18th, 2PM
Join AMoA for an afternoon talk with artist Aron Belka, a painter based in New Orleans. One of the artists in the Concrete & Adrift: On the Poverty Line exhibition and represented in the AMoA permanent collection, Belka’s often larger than life oil paintings often feature people in lower income brackets as well as those without homes. During our afternoon with the artist, Belka will talk about his work and his chosen subjects during his time since moving to New Orleans.

Rembrandt film screening • Tuesday, April 16th, 5:30PM
1936 film Rembrandt, starring Charles Laughton, begins at the height of Rembrandt van Rijn’s fame and follows the journey of the artist through the death of his wife and his fall from popularity until his death. Connected with Sordid & Sacred: the Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings Selections from the John Villarino Collection, this film chronicles a later period of the artist’s life from his creation of the etchings in the exhibition but enhances the story of the man in addition to his work.

Exhibition Panel Discussion • Thursday, May 30th, 6 PM
Join AMoA for a panel discussion about subjects related to Concrete & Adrift: On the Poverty Line with members of area aid organizations with which the museum is partnering throughout the exhibit.

The Soloist film screening • Tuesday, June 11, 5:30PM
Based on a true story, The Soloist focuses on a columnist who, while searching for story ideas, stumbles upon a homeless street musician with extraordinary talent. The film tells the story of the struggles both experience while the columnist uses his work to try and benefit both and all that he learns in the process. Released in 2009 by Dreamworks, the film stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Artists in the exhibition:

Robin Adsit, Michael Gagliardi Angelo, Aron Belka, Clint Brown, Dana Caldera, Kevin Campbell, Du Chau, Susan Corbyn, Melody Croft, Bryson Currier, Sarah Dillon, Malaika Favorite, King Yeung Fan Fina, J. Leigh Garcia, Tatiana Garmendia, Laura Gates, Cheryl Goldsleger, Ronald Gonzalez, Diane Hiscox, Lynn LaRose, David Larson Glen, Kayla Lashley, Annie Lee, Kandy Lopez, George Lorio, Emilio Maldonado, Jessica McDaniel, Jessica McDaniel, Dan Moras, Hillel O’Leary, Michael Pribich, Jack Reynolds, Kim Rice, Cristobal Rodriguez, Monica Santaella, Jerry Smith, Wendy Starn, Hillary Steel, Kaitlin West