Untitled (Commerce Clause)

Untitled (Commerce Clause), 2019

Various food, food packaging, hand-painted acrylic wall text, wooden display shelves, framed paper and glass display cabinet. Dimensions variable.

In this project, 34 food items are displayed next to excerpts from the Constitution and three key civil rights cases: Katzenbach v. McClung (1964), Gregory v. Meyer (1967) and Daniel v. Paul (1969). In each case, the court upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prevented private businesses from discriminating against African American patrons. The federal act’s constitutionality was upheld on the basis that the food served by the businesses involved in the litigation had moved between states. As such, the federal government was empowered to regulate private party conduct as part of its commerce power under the Constitution. Above the display was an excerpt of the poem ‘Riot’ by Gwendolyn Brooks written onto the wall.