Sotheby's Visions of America

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For Freedoms is pleased to partner with Sotheby’s on the occasion of Visions of America, a fresh and innovative sale and exhibition format showcasing an unprecedented selection of American craftsmanship from important private collections and institutions across a week-long series of auctions, events, and experiences. For Freedoms will display four Collections of the Four Freedoms Photographs in Gallery 316 from January 11-19, 2024 three of which are for sale with proceeds benefiting the organization. 

For Freedoms will also host a public panel discussion "Exploring The Four Freedoms Photographs: A Conversation with Devin Allen, Eric Gottesman, and Nora Halpern" on Thursday, January 18th from 5-6pm at Sotheby’s New York. For Freedoms co-founder, artist, and project collaborator Eric Gottesman, Photographer Devin Allen, and Curator Nora Halpern, all three of whom are represented in the photographs, will discuss the photographs as diplomacy and creative civic engagement, as well as what it was like to be a part of creation of these pictures in the context of each participant’s work; Gottesman’s photography practice and work with For Freedoms, Allen's photography practice working on social justice issues in Baltimore and around the nation, and Halpern’s work as a curator/arts advocate working to promote artists and making the case for art as a form of critical civic engagement.


Artists Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur–in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery of For Freedoms created the Four Freedoms Photographs in 2018 to emphasize the myriad of American identities by centering diversity as an inextricable component of freedom and to galvanize voters and spark civic engagement. The works are reinterpretations of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings, modernizing the imagery to represent America at its most ideal and inclusive; created by gathering friends, artists, activists, and community organizers to take their place within these iconic works. The eponymous freedoms were coined by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, and include freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Four Freedoms photographs were reproduced and distributed nationwide as billboards, artworks, posters and more as part of the organization’s 2018 50 State Initiative - the largest creative collaboration in US history. They were also featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

In 2023, as part of the permanent collection of the US Department of State Art In Embassies Democracy Collection, the Four Freedoms photographs traveled to Athens, Lisbon, Geneva and finally, Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. This traveling exhibition commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Office of Art in Embassies, established by President John F. Kennedy to create cross-cultural dialogues and foster mutual understanding through the visual arts. For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas was also honored with 2023 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts, presented by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House. The Medal of Arts is an award created by Art in Embassies, in partnership with the Secretary of State to formally acknowledge artists who have played an exemplary role in advancing the U.S. Department of State’s mission to promote cultural diplomacy around the globe.

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