For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights

Exhibitions as Curator

Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, Alabama
September 8, 2018 – November 18, 2019

Who has access to civil rights—the promise of political and social freedom and equality? This question seized Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, as African Americans fought for fairness in all parts of their lives. This revolution became known as the civil rights movement and is a lasting legacy in our state. However, the struggle is far from over. The connections between the civil rights era and the present are visible in the works of art that shaped the movement, four of which are displayed here.

Each of these images is paired with one of the four freedoms listed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech: freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom of worship. Written during a time when the German government was oppressing the civil and human rights of Jewish people, Roosevelt argued that these universal civil rights were the foundation of a healthy, strong democracy. But who could access these freedoms in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and who can access them now? How much has changed in Alabama and the nation, and how can we learn from the civil rights era today?

About For Freedoms

For Freedoms is an artist-run platform for civic engagement, dialogue, and action through the arts. It was founded by the artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman. In 2018, For Freedoms is sponsoring local, statewide, and national initiatives encouraging engagement with and participation in the political process. This exhibition is part of a larger set of exhibitions and programs taking place in Birmingham and across Alabama leading up to the midterm elections in November. For more information on related shows at partner arts organizations, visit

Modernism in the American Galleries: The Poynor Collection

Exhibitions as Curator

Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, Alabama
November 2018 – August 2019

Two installations from a major promised gift to the institution in celebration of the donor and the expanding scope of the American collection. These rotations illustrate how American artists used medium specificity and abstraction at mid-century to transition from stylization in the early-twentieth century to the pluralism of subjects and materials in twenty-first century art.

Approximate Knowledge

Exhibitions as Artist

121 PopUp Gallery
Montgomery, Alabama

September 14, 2017 – October 16, 2017

Approximate Knowledge explores the ways in which surroundings affect individuals and perception. Many of these works visualize the tension originating from common domestic situations and the subsequent corporeal reactions from individuals. Juxtapositions between the inflexible and the malleable represent the stress inherent to fast-paced, high-stakes contemporary living. Architectural elements, precariously balanced, reveal the tenuous separation between public and private life as increasing pressure breaks down carefully constructed social barriers and boundaries. Abstracted representations of the human form refer to the degradation of the physical body in response to internalized psychological stress.

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