This fall, in the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, For Freedoms—the first artist-run super PAC—will present a series of four Town Hall–style meetings in Los Angeles and New York. Each one organized around one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four freedoms—freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom of speech. These gatherings aim to inspire deeper civic engagement among citizens at a critical moment in our nation’s history. Exploring the significance of these freedoms through a myriad of ideological perspectives, the meetings will function as both public forums for debate and safe spaces where divergent viewpoints can co-exist—even if only temporarily.
The Freedom of Speech panel at ICP will be moderated by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, and paneled by community members, civic and business leaders, and elected officials to discuss a wide-range of issues that are not only shaping today’s national conversation, but also affecting the everyday lives of people.
During the Town Hall, participating panelists will respond to prompts and topics posed by the moderator, who will then open the discussion to audience participation.
Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture. He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, the International Center of Photography, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among others. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed permanently at the Oakland International Airport, The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, The Oakland Museum of California, and the University of California, San Francisco. He is also and a recipient of the New Media grant from Tribeca Film Institute and New Media Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography for his transmedia project, Question Bridge: Black Males. Recent notable exhibitions include Hank Willis Thomas at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Repetition and Difference at the Jewish Museum in New York. He sits in the Public Design Commission for the city of New York. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.
Eric Gottesman studied politics, economics and, later, art. Now he photographs, writes, makes videos and teaches. Central to his practice is collaboration. He often uses art as a vehicle to engage people in conversation and critical thought about the social structures that surround them and him. He was named a 2015 Creative Capital Artist and has previously won a Fulbright Fellowship, an Artadia Award, a Light Work Residency, the Aaron Siskind Foundation Artist Fellowship and other grants and awards. His work is in various collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His first book, Sudden Flowers, was published in 2014. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in Film, Photography and Video at Hampshire College, a Visiting Professor at Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and a Mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project