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Food Shelter Clothing

Curated by Aldy Milliken

May 23-September 6, 2015

Steve Wilson Gallery, 1st Floor

Bill and Lindy Street Gallery, 2nd Floor


According to Abraham Maslow’s 1954 construction of the Hierarchy of Need, food, shelter, and clothing are basic necessities for survival and are signifying factors in determining a sustainable, healthy community. In the exhibition Food Shelter Clothing, artists use references associated with the “materials” food, shelter, and clothing to address the questions of how needs are interpreted, exchanged, challenged, shared and perceived in our society.


Societies were built because of the human need to coalesce and work together for survival yet sophisticated communication platforms often broaden the gap between determine need and attaining those basic needs. Art is the richest form of communication and food, shelter, and clothing become catalysts for resourceful intervention, reinvention, and dialogue initiated by artists and enacted by audiences.


This show explores the museum’s mission by surveying a variety of dynamic artistic strategies surrounding materials, labor and process. Many of the artists in Food Shelter Clothing work within the traditional artist-curator-institution relationship while others create socially charged objects, use research projects to engage audiences, and produce performances that address survival, spirituality, economy, identity, gender and sustainability.


With artworks placed in the community, the space in which the artist leaves the conventions of the art institution, daring to make their work as they form relationships around mutual need and interest, that another form of deeper inquiry into the relationship between human expression and human need is created.


The works in Food, Shelter, Clothing visually and tactilely are derived from the foundation of need as described by Maslow but they offer us a different perspective than the hierarchical pyramid model commonly found in text books or online.  Needs are better represented as a matrix with art and creative endeavors surrounding food, shelter and clothing illustrating the process to satisfying need and facilitating deeper understanding that is at the apex of Maslow’s pyramid. As artist Frank Jones was compelled to make his drawings imprisoning evil spirits, he satisfied his need to make the world a better place and perhaps rationalize his own incarceration. He also bartered his works in the prison economy, one would suffice for food and cigarettes.  Art is process, communication, a deeper level of self-actualization and currency all at the same time.  

Exhibiting Artists:

Gina Beavers, Futurefarmers (Amy Franceschini with Grain Pit programming organized by Daniel Tucker), Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Frank A. Jones, Lee Mingwei, Vik Muniz, MOTORPARK (Kim Charles Kay and Lisi Raskin,) Tameka Norris, Marjetica Potrč, Lisi Raskin, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Anika Smulovitz, and Frank Weisberg



Lee Mingwei

The Mending Project, 2009 - 2015

Mixed media interactive installation,

Dimensions variable,

Collection of Rudy Tseng

Ongoing Projects


The Mending Project

Lee Mingwei. 

Read more.



Kim Charles Kay and Lisi Raskin. 

Read more.


Grain Pit

Futurefarmers, Amy Franceschini.

Moving Units organized by Daniel Tucker. 

Read more.




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