Judd Foundation presents a series of programs this fall in partnership with For Freedoms, a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action by artists. Grounded in the shared values of engaged citizenship held by both organizations, this partnership highlights the contemporary relevance of Donald Judd’s position that: “Everyone has to be involved in politics, in organizations that will defend their rights and obtain more, that will decide on what should happen in all public matters. If you don’t act, someone else will decide everything.”
The month-long installation of posters, originally designed as billboards for the 2018 For Freedoms ‘50 State Initiative,’ will feature the work of artists Carlos Motta and José Parlá at Judd Foundation locations in New York and Marfa, Texas. In addition, Judd Foundation will host a conversation with both artists to address the question originally posed to Judd by Artforum in 1970: “What is your position regarding the kinds of political action that should be taken by artists?” Judd Foundation will partner with For Freedoms as part of their ‘2020 Awakening’ campaign.
For Freedoms believes in the vital role of culture and transforming our social and political systems. The ‘2020 Awakening’ campaign (#The2020Awakening) will focus on not only increasing voter engagement, but a longer-term vision of a great Awakening centered around Healing, Justice and Listening, the new “Four Freedoms.” Posting art is one of the many ways one can participate in this year’s campaign, amongst virtual town halls, marching, convening a cypher, as listed in For Freedoms’ ‘Infinite Playbook.’ Inspired by a little-known group of abolitionist dreamers founded in 1860 called the Wide Awakes, For Freedoms’ ‘2020 Awakening’ campaign seeks to build upon their previous work of modeling creative civic action, through centering artists and visionaries in public discourse. Being wide awake in 2020, For Freedoms practices and values compassion, critical thinking, imagination and accountability. They accept that we as a society cannot go backwards, and understand that change starts with individuals connected to one another.
In addition to this partnership with For Freedoms, Judd Foundation is committed to partnering programmatically with organizations whose primary missions are to further racial, socioeconomic, and gender equity.
About For Freedoms
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, Michelle Woo and Wyatt Gallery, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. As a nexus between art, politics, commerce, and education, For Freedoms aims to inject anti-partisan, critical thinking that fine art requires into the political landscape through programming, exhibitions, and public artworks. In 2018, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative: the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.
For Freedoms offers tools and resources for people and institutions to participate in collective action. The new Wide Awakes aim for liberation and emancipation. They encourage and promote the creative use of one’s voice, one’s body, one’s mind, one’s vote and ultimately one’s soul. Their guiding principles are to insist on the future, provoke questions, be nuanced, play the infinite game and break binaries.
For information on For Freedoms’ 2020 Awakening, visit forfreedoms.org.
About the Artists
Carlos Motta (b. 1978, Bogota, Colombia) is a New York-based multi-disciplinary artist whose work documents the social conditions and political struggles of sexual, gender, and ethnic minority communities in order to challenge dominant and normative discourses through visibility and self-representation. He is committed to in-depth research on the struggles of post-colonial subjects and societies. His work manifests in a variety of mediums including video, installation, sculpture, drawing, web-based projects, performance, and symposia. His billboard, originally produced for For Freedoms’ ‘50 States Initative’ and installed in Des Moines, Iowa in 2018, presents a quote from poet the American writer, feminist, womanist, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde: “Liberation is not the private province of one particular group.”
“In these particular times where a demagogue political rhetoric has been largely naturalized and where the interests of a conservative elite are challenging progressive civil ideals and liberties, Lorde’s words seem timely and urgent. Lorde advocated for the liberation of bodies and minds and, in my opinion, that is what we need to think about right now. We are facing a dire time in the United States, the very notion of ‘freedom’ is at stake and forms of resistance and dissent seem vulnerable and unattainable. I firmly believe in not giving up and in finding ways to fight for freedom; the freedom to disagree, to resist and to envision other ways to live.”
José Parlá (b. 1973, Miami, FL) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work includes painting, sculpture, video, and photography.”My billboard is about a message of Unity. I wrote ‘Igualdad en Paz’ in Spanish which translates into ‘Equality in Peace.’ I am for For Freedoms because I believe in helping to spread the message that art can bring people together.”
Parlá studied painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, New World School of the Arts and Miami-Dade College in Florida. His work has been exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York City, HOCA Foundation, Hong Kong, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; The Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; National YoungArts Foundation, Miami, Florida; The SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art & Design, Georgia; and The Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba and is in several public collections including The British Museum, London, United Kingdom; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; POLA Museum of Art, Hakone, Japan; and The National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba. Collaborative projects include the 11th Havana Biennial with Wrinkles of the City: Havana, Cuba project, completed in 2012 between Parlá and French artist JR. Parlá has worked with the Caldera Arts Program at The Portland Art Museum where he collaborated with participating youth for his Signature Roots, workshop and installation. Permanent public art projects include commissions by ONE World Trade Center, the University of Texas at Austin, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Fisher, North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library by Snøhetta; and at Concord City Place, Toronto, Canada.