Poor and Needy: An Exhibition on Art, Migration, and Debt

Poor and Needy: An Exhibition on Art, Migration, and Debt

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Curators: Lise Haller Baggesen and Yvette Brackman

ArtistsRashayla Marie Brown, Kirsten Dufour / Mobil Kultur Bureau, Jim Duignan / Stockyard Institute, Michelle Eistrup, Anja Franke, Nanna Lysholt Hansen, Hannah Heilmann, Anni Holm, Ulla Hvejsel, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Jenny Kendler, Kurt Finsten / Krabbesholm Højskole, Kirsten Leenaars, Sofia Leiby, Tony Lewis, Josh Mittelman, Matt Morris, Skovsnogen, Edra Soto, The Third Rail, and Andrew Yang & Christa Donner / Cultural ReProducers. 

Publishers: Poor Farm Press and Krabbeshiolm Højskole (2016)

Inspired by Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York, Poor & Needy explored various economies of creative compassion. At the Poor Farm, housed in a former debtors farm in rural Wisconsin, Poor & Needy engaged its site to reflect on ideas related to cooperation, migration, and debt. For the Great Poor Farm Experiment VIII, in the summer of 2016, the exhibition occupied two floors of the Poor Farm with an upstairs “biblioteque” and basement “discoteque,” to underscore how these issues must be actuated both in the archive and in the club, to capture our hearts as well our minds.

Migration implies collaboration, and the need to recognize our interconnectedness, to address systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Debt and economic liberalization turns the previously mentioned social and political movement(s) into profitable economical entities within debt relations. As artists we rely on each other to forge bonds and collaborations, but what does it mean to be in debt; to whom are we indebted, and who will hold us accountable—society, community, the canon, a legally binding contract, or merely our own moral code?

Poor & Needy brings together a disparate group of artists from Scandinavia and from the American Midwest, using landscape, locality and (shared) history to examine artistic ecologies in various forms, from artist-run spaces, collaborations, and publications, to the cooperative continuum between people in nature.

Following the Great Poor Farm Experiment VIII, the exhibition and symposium travelled to Krabbesholm, DK in fall 2017. The third, and final part of the project consisted of a publication, co-published by Poor Farm Press and Krabbeshiolm Højskole, including documentation of the exhibition(process) as well as reflective texts by Lise Haller Baggesen, Yvette Brackman, invited scholars, and exhibiting artists.