In the third episode of the Hyperallergic Podcast, we talk to artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman about the For Freedoms Super PAC, which promises to shake things up during the 2016 US Presidential election by inviting artists to reflect on important topics during the run up to Election Day.
In the podcast, which was recorded in Thomas’s Midtown Manhattan studio, we discuss why artists need a Super PAC, what the goal of this unconventional “art project” is, and if this initiative will continue beyond 2016.
The For Freedoms Super PAC is partly inspired by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Speech, in which he outlined his vision of four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Norman Rockwell popularized these ideas with a series that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on February 20, 1943. The artworks were immediately popular and more than 25,000 readers requested full-color reproductions suitable for framing.
For Freedoms is planning to buy advertising across the country to promote their images and causes, and engage with the larger electoral debates. Will this represent a new way to raise arts-related issues to the voting public? This, among other questions, is the focus of this project, which is only just getting started as the artists continue to fundraise and commission artworks related to relevant causes.
Thomas and Gottesman’s Super PAC will be the subject of an exhibition at New York’s Jack Shainman Gallery that opens on Tuesday, June 7. The exhibition will feature work by Carrie Mae Weems, Jim Goldberg, Alec Soth, Dread Scott, Xaviera Simmons, Rashid Johnson, and many others.
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