Sep 21st 2019

HOSTED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE JOYCE FOUNDATION at SAIC Sullivan Galleries at 33 S. State Street, 7th floor




In partnership with the Joyce Foundation, For Freedoms will curate a town hall discussion in conjunction with LOOKS OF FREEDOM, a special projects exhibition at EXPO Chicago curated by Modou Dieng and Michelle Woo. The conversation will be framed around the notion of Freedom of Speech and the role of art and artists in creating a more equitable global community and marketplace. The program will feature curators Alexandria Eregbu of Envisioning Justice, Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches From Center, as well as For Freedoms artists Kellie Romany, Jamal Petermaan, and Malick Welli.

Cover image by Malick Welli.


Blackpuffin — a boutique company and interactive platform for artists, businesses and collectors to engage and motivate each other through curating and advising — and For Freedoms — a national collective of artists, institutions, organizations, and people across the country who are experimenting with new and innovative pathways to civic participation — are pleased to co-present a special projects exhibition as part of fall 2019’s EXPO CHICAGO.

One year after their fall 2018 50 State Initiative campaign—noted by Time as the largest creative collaboration in our nation’s history—For Freedoms has teamed up with Blackpuffin Curatorial as part of the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art to present LOOKS OF FREEDOM, a visual essay curated by Modou Dieng and Michelle Woo. An exploration of fiction, fantasy, and the future, the exhibition and its accompanying performances offer a stage to unpack and repack notions of blackness, brownness, queerness, and belonging in order to give these stories a form, resonance, and connection.

Coming from varied diasporas while working through an intimate lens, each artist incorporates a series of mediums, appropriations, and experiences to find a sense of self within a global chaos. Including many Chicago-based artists, the exhibition seeks to challenge notions of value and representation, and explores alternative visions of society and the art marketplace. Blackpuffin and For Freedoms strive to illuminate what has been made invisible in the sphere of cultural production, and to question who is seen and who is not.

On view on the EXPO Sales floor from the Vernissage on Thursday, September 19th through Sunday, September 22, the list of exhibited artists includes Zoé Buckman, Demian DinéYazhí, For Freedoms Limited Editions, Eric Gottesman, Jamaal Peterman, Kellie Romany, Malick Welli, and Guanyu Xu. In conjunction, For Freedoms is partnering with The Joyce Foundation to host a free-to-the-public town hall on Freedom of Speech and the role of artists in public discourse which will include artists from the exhibition, words from For Freedoms Director Michelle Woo, and local Chicago curators. The program will take place on Saturday, September 21st at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries from 10 am to 12pm. For more information about the Sullivan Galleries exhibition, Envisioning Justice please visit Additionally, For Freedoms and Blackpuffin have commissioned Eric Gottesman for a billboard sponsored by Barrett Barrera Projects in the city of Chicago that will be on view during the Exposition.


For Freedoms is a national collective for creative citizenship founded by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas. It is a collaboration between artists, institutions, organizations, and people across the nation who experiment with new and creative pathways to participation. It believes in—and advocates for—creativity as a civic right, participation as a civic duty, and deeper discourse as a catalyst of civic change. And it welcomes all.

For Freedoms started in 2016 as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms seeks to use art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values, and to clarify that citizenship in American society is deepened by participation, not by ideology. For Freedoms is part of a rich history of artists employing means of mass communication to provoke political discourse. For Freedoms believes art and artists play an important role in galvanizing our society towards a more representative and transparent government.

Blackpuffin is a curatorial company focusing on equal parts collaboration and strategy. Its mission is to produce an interactive platform for artists, businesses and collectors to engage and motivate each other through curating and advising.

Opening the fall art season each September, EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art features leading international galleries alongside one of the highest quality platforms for contemporary art and culture. Hosted within Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, EXPO CHICAGO’s eighth edition will take place September 19-22, 2019, in alignment with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. (September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2019)


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