April 14, 2018–May 19, 2019
First Floor: F Street Side
Free admission, no registration required
A stable place to call home is one of the best predictors of success. Yet, each year more than 2.3 million Americans, most of them low-income renters, face eviction. While it used to be rare even in the poorest neighborhoods, forcible removal has become ordinary, with families facing eviction from the most squalid, barely inhabitable apartments.
This phenomenon exposes not only income inequality in America, but also the growing separation between the built environments of the rich and the poor.
The National Building Museum announces a new, ground-breaking exhibition exploring the causes and impacts of eviction.
CityLab: “How Evicted became an exhibit”
A collaboration with Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology at Princeton University, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and best-selling author, Evicted offers an immersive experience bringing our visitors into the world of low-income renter eviction. With unique design elements and striking graphics, the exhibition challenges adults and youth to face the enormity of a difficult subject, while providing context and a call to action.
Eviction occurs when renters are forcibly removed from their home by court order. Evictions and the threat of removal are disproportionately experienced by African American single mothers in many cities, but affect people of all backgrounds. An eviction record can mean that a family is now ineligible for other subsidies such as public housing. It can make job-hunting more difficult, if not nearly impossible. Finding a new place to live becomes almost a full-time job, especially in a sprawling metropolitan area without a car.
Housing instability threatens all aspects of family life: health, jobs, school, and personal relationships. Landlords hesitate to rent to those with eviction records, or charge them extra money, causing a devastating negative feedback loop. Children switch schools too often to make friends or be noticed and helped by teachers; neighbors cannot develop bonds; personal belongings are left in storage or out on the street. Americans often take home for granted—homes forms the building blocks of community life—and this stability is under attack when eviction looms.
The exhibition employs a rich array of images and audio interviews. Specially commissioned visual infographics and forward-thinking design introduces visitors to the numbers and statistics they need to know in order to understand the crisis. Rates of evictions in different markets will make evident the depths of the problem. Working together, these elements amplify the stories of tenant families, as they explain in their own words and images the impact eviction has on them and their loved ones.
About the Exhibition Designers
The creative team for Evicted consisted of three different firms, all based in Brooklyn, New York. The Museum has worked with Matter and MGMT. twice before on Picture This and Green Community. Unfurl Productions is a new firm and Evicted marks our first collaboration.
MATTER Architecture Practice designs buildings, interiors, exhibitions, and installations to spark civic engagement in the public environment. Recently completed projects include: shade structures for the City of Phoenix; the permanent exhibition In Pursuit of Freedom for the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn; and States of Incarceration, a traveling exhibition examining mass incarceration across the country.
MGMT. is a woman-owned graphic design studio founded in 2002.The collaborative studio, placing investigation and process ahead of a single design aesthetic, has extensive and varied experience in print, branding, exhibition design, and web design. Approaching all projects with initial research and maintaining a level of conceptual rigor throughout the process, MGMT. finds smart and responsive design solutions that visually enrich the content. MGMT. has received awards from the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, Print Magazine Design Annual, the AIGA, the Art Directors Club, the American Society of Magazine Editors, and I.D. Magazine.
Unfurl Productions is a media company devoted to nonfiction storytelling.The videos included in the exhibition were produced by Eve Claxton, Sylvie Lubow, Katie Simon, and Amelia Tovey; with editing by Michael Garofalo, Scott Ham, Jared Houseman, and Nancy Novack andspecial thanks to Domenica Alioto and Chris Durrance.
This exhibition is generously supported by Ford Foundation; Amy C. Falls; Wells Fargo Housing Foundation; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust; The Annie E. Casey Foundation; International Masonry Institute; International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; Enterprise Community Partners; LISC, in memory of Oramenta Newsome; Charles P. and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger; Venable Foundation; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.