Star Staff Reports
Art Work by Kenneth Laird II, native of Millington, was selected for Inclusion in Major Traveling Exhibition organized by Norman Rockwell Museum.
In early 2017, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, sent out a call to artists to create works that would reimagine President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear— or explore the meaning of freedom today, for possible inclusion in the major touring exhibition: Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms. A distinguished jury of curators, scholars, artists, and historians reviewed approximately 1000 submissions from artists across the United States and countries around the world. They selected 37 works by 36 artists—including Kenneth Laird II—for the contemporary section of the exhibition, titled “Reimagining the Four Freedoms.”
Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms opened at the New-York Historical Society, in New York City, on May 25, and the companion section ”Reimagining the Four Freedoms” will be on view simultaneously across Central Park at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.
Support for Reimagining the Four Freedoms has been provided by the Ford Foundation.
Overview of Exhibition
The first comprehensive exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms explores how the 1943 paintings came to be embraced by millions of Americans, providing crucial aid to the War effort as they brought the public together in defense of universal human rights. In addition to Rockwell’s celebrated paintings, the exhibition includes numerous other examples of painting, illustration, photography, and more, by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries—from J.C. Leyendecker and Mead Schaeffer, to Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, among others—as well as historical documents, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings. While exploring the response of an earlier generation to the paintings and what they stood for, the exhibition, with the juried selection of contemporary works, also resonates with our own time.
Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms and its seven-city tour are organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum. The exhibition has been co-curated by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Norman Rockwell Museum, and James J. Kimble, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication & the Arts, Seton Hall University. Additionally, a National Advisory Board, comprising scholars, artists, and museum professionals, has provided guidance and expertise for the exhibition.
Reimagining the Four Freedoms
For this section of the exhibition, artists were asked to consider what freedom means today and to provide a contemporary interpretation of the notions of freedom enunciated by Roosevelt in 1941 and painted by Rockwell in 1943. The selected artworks include painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and mixed media.
Plunkett says, “The story of Rockwell’s images of the Four Freedoms and their success in uniting the American public, continues to resonate, perhaps rarely more powerfully than today. We are thrilled at the enthusiastic response to our call to artists. The diversity of ideas, styles, and mediums in the works that will be shown in the exhibition is a testament to the breadth and power of the very idea of freedom.”
Additionally, the selected works will be featured on the exhibition website; and will join a global discussion of art and ideas about the expression and meaning of freedom in today’s world, using #FourFreedomsToday.
Following its inaugural presentation in New York City at the New-York Historical Society and Roosevelt House, Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms travels to The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich, October 13, 2018 – January 13, 2019; The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., February 9 –May 6, 2019; Mémorial de Caen, Normandy, France, June 4 – October 27, 2019; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, December 15, 2019 – March 22, 2020; Venue to be Announced, July 4 – September 20, 2020; Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA, Fall 2020. Each venue will present the works in the juried section of the exhibition in its own way, whether as part of the exhibition or, as in the case of the New-York Historical Society, as a companion presentation at another venue. Please note, “Reimagining the Four Freedoms” section of the exhibition will not travel to Mémorial de Caen.
Star Staff Reports