Steven Kinder: 552,830

March 14 - June 14, 2020

When we think of homelessness, we often and too easily think in broad categories. The term “homeless,” like “migrant” or “immigrant,” is a single word used to describe hundreds of thousands of people and designed to override any sense of insight or potential for us to connect to an individual and their personal story. The terms “unsheltered” and “housing insecure” are now also making way into our vernacular as more sensitive alternatives. But can terms help widen compassion or provide solutions? In the end, if we haven’t personally experienced being unsheltered ourselves, what do we truly understand about it? Can art help build a bridge?

Steven Kinder: 552,830 is an important contribution to this global conversation, particularly in a town like Brattleboro, Vermont, which, like many American cities today, has ongoing issues around housing insecurity. It is also significant as it marks the artist’s debut solo museum exhibition in America of this body of work. Although the title refers to the total number of Americans who experienced housing insecurity in 2018, the artist has been meeting and working with people on the street one-by-one for years, asking permission to take their photographs and offering compensation for the opportunity to paint their portraits. This exhibition will feature these portraits, as well as photographs, studies, and sketchbooks of the project throughout the last five years. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue. 

— Katherine Gass Stowe, Curator

This exhibit is supported in part by a grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust and has been organized by BMAC in partnership with Groundworks Collaborative and other Brattleboro-area organizations addressing the problem of homelessness in our community.