Flux Projects has announced its newest project, a collaboration next month with the artist-run super PAC For Freedoms. Founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman as a way for artists to engage with the heated issues surrounding the 2016 presidential election, For Freedoms is the first ever super PAC of its kind, bringing together high-profile artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Marilyn Minter, and Nari Ward. Together with over fifty artists, For Freedoms has developed art-based political activations in the form of billboards, voter registration drives, balloon drops, and public advertising campaigns. A related exhibition, also called “For Freedoms,” closed at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York early last month.
The upcoming collaboration between Flux Projects and For Freedoms will take the form of an outdoor sculptural installation composed of yard signs similar to those used in political campaigns. Instead of endorsing a presidential candidate, these signs will bear slogans such as “Freedom of _________” and “Freedom from _________” that have been completed by members of the Atlanta community at pop-up “campaign headquarters” locations. These tented sites will also include printed banners with artwork by Thomas and Weems.
The public is invited to participate in this “Yard Sign Activation” project at the Freedom Farmers Market on Saturday, October 8 from 9 am until 1 pm and at the Grant Park Farmers Market on Sunday, October 9 from 9:30 am until 1:30 pm. The project will also be featured in the Elevate: Microcosm Block Party on South Broad Street on October 14 from 6 until 11 pm. The completed signs will be displayed en masse as a sculptural installation on the corner of Freedom Parkway and Highland Avenue from October 17 through November 11.
“With this piece, a portion of Atlanta’s collective opinions and ideas take shape in a visual way,” says Flux’s recently appointed curator Melissa Messina. “The placement at a highly-trafficked intersection of Freedom Parkway provides not only a physical but symbolic framework for the piece.”
On Wednesday, October 19 at 7 pm, Thomas will give a talk at the Carter Center about the formation of For Freedoms as a “civically-minded artistic project” and discuss the many activations the group has executed across the country.
Atlanta is one of several cities in which For Freedoms projects have taken place, with other activation sites in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Cleveland. For Freedoms will also take part in the exhibition “Dispatches” opening at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on November 1.
“We are F-O-R Freedoms rather than F-O-U-R Freedoms,” says Thomas. “It is important to validate the freedoms of others—even the ones we don’t agree with—because we want them to validate ours. For Freedoms is a proof of concept and it’s important to us to encourage others to engage. We are excited that Flux Projects is joining us by using the yard sign activation in Atlanta to make art a form of political engagement.”