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The Four Freedoms returned and re-imagined
May 11 @ 10:00 am - May 29 @ 5:00 pm
Norman Rockwell’s depictions of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms — Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want — inspire contemporary artists who reflect on and challenge them at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Imagining Freedom explores Rockwell’s 1943 paintings, tracing the origins of the Four Freedoms from the trials of the Great Depression and World War II to the Freedom movement of the 1960s, and the call for freedom today across racial, gender, ethnic, and religious lines.
Curated by James J. Kimble, Ph.D. of Seton Hall University and Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, the Museum’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Imagining Freedom encourages conversation about many of the country’s most pressing social concerns and invites visitors to consider how the country can unite in the creation of a more humane world. The exhibition also encourages reflection on what the Four Freedoms mean in today’s social, political and cultural landscape.
Reimagining the Four Freedoms, a multi-media exhibition component, presents new perspectives by 38 contemporary artists who explore society’s hopes and aspirations for a free and just world. Highlighted among them, Maurice Pops Peterson has created a vision for a new age.
Pops Peterson: Rockwell Revisited
In 2015, Berkshire-based artist and writer Maurice ‘Pops’ Peterson debuted Reinventing Rockwell, a series of artworks reimagining mid-century illustrations by Norman Rockwell in a manner reflective of today’s times. Celebrating America’s rich diversity and embracing Rockwell’s sense of humanity, Peterson has created images that envision social change and express his desire for a positive, inclusive, and just world.
Pops Peterson thanks his talented team, including Cassandra Sohn, John Clarke, Judy Seaman, Matt Finnerty, Rob Grien, Cindy Atkins, Joseph Cisneros, Stephen G. Donaldson, Isha Nelson and Mont Vert Studio.
The Unity Project
Acclaimed artists Mai Ly Degnan, Rudy Gutierrez, Anita Kunz, Tim O’Brien, Whitney Sherman and Yuko Shimizu offer a series of original poster illustrations commissioned by the museum to inspire Americans to exercise their rights by voting and to establish a camaraderie of unity and belonging among all Americans.
The Unity Project’s six illustrations reflect each artist’s personal voice and show a diverse range of artistic approach to create motivational art through illustrated posters and imagery.
“In this piece, I wanted to illustrate a scene of strong women performing their civic duty of voting in this time of utmost uncertainty,” said artist Mai Ly Degnan. “Using colorful masks, I wanted to illustrate women “defending democracy,” highlighting and acknowledging the fact that we are in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. The word VOTE on the individual masks is there to symbolize this is not the time to be silent or sit this one out. With the world in chaos, as a nation we have no choice.”
“I wanted to create a poster that is unapologetically American, powerful and hopeful. This is a portrait of a contemporary woman of color as a Lady Liberty Superheroine,” said artist Yuko Shimizu.
“When thinking about voting today, I’m mindful of the need to be vigilant, to make the effort on all election contests local to federal, and to the energetic beauty that comes from everyone doing their part to be good citizens,” said artist Whitney Sherman. “To vote means to participate in the experiment of democracy, an experiment that doesn’t continue on its own. It needs each and every one of us to exist.”