This election year, in time for the Conventions, I am guest co-curator (with Ian Rand and Meg Floryan) of the Wolfsonian–FIU exhibition Thoughts on Democracy, a “graphic remix project tied to the 2016 presidential election.” Four contemporary designers re-envision the politics of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings with a new freedom (oddly missing from the original): the Freedom to Vote.
The museum will celebrate with pop-up art installations, night-time projections, political programming and more, kicking off in August. Turnberry for the Arts will also showcase new posters concurrently at Aventura Mall.
Thoughts on Democracy: Freedom to Vote 2016 is a collaboration with contemporary designers Mirko Ilić, Oliver Munday, Paul Sahre and Bonnie Siegler, who have conceived four graphic responses to the Freedom to Vote, inspired by some of the chaos and obstacles inherent in the American voting process, regardless of party affiliation or political beliefs.
The original Four Freedoms Rockwell posters gifted to The Wolfsonian by Leonard A. Lauder will also be displayed alongside the 2016 iterations.
“The only way to ensure President Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ today is through our Freedom to Vote,” I said in a press release, along with co-curators Ian Rand, Wolfsonian marketing director, and Meg Floryan, communications manager. “Without exercising our responsibility, everything is in jeopardy. As Norman Rockwell’s posters reminded us of these ‘Four Freedoms,’ our designers remind us that the fifth holds everything together.”
“Thoughts on Democracy is an important collaboration that we are proud to showcase to our local and international visitors,” said Jackie Soffer, co-chairman and CEO of Turnberry Associates, owner and manager of Aventura Mall. “It’s another example of Turnberry for the Arts’ promise to share world-class contemporary art with the community.”
Wolfsonian director Tim Rodgers added, “With propaganda as the bedrock of our collection, The Wolfsonian is uniquely equipped to tackle these issues. We’re excited to frame the politics of today in relation to the past, and create this forum for provocative conversation—the power of messaging has been, after all, part of our DNA since Day 1.”
In tandem with the lobby installation, the museum will echo the themes on Washington Avenue, giving a vibrant street presence to the project in the heart of South Beach. Images of the original batch of posters from Thoughts on Democracy (2008) will be exhibited in the windows of The Wolfsonian’s historic Bridge Tender House in front of its flagship building, effectively wrapping the structure in over 80 contemporary designs. In addition, projections of these images will activate the exterior of the Mediterranean Revival–style building’s north facade after sunset. Together, these displays establish an outdoor component to the installation that will be accessible to all passersby.
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