Skip to Main Content

Thoughts on Democracy: Reinterpreting Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Posters

July 5, 2008–January 1, 2009
The Wolfsonian–FIU @ 1001 Washington Avenue

Thoughts on Democracy was comprised of graphic works that express ideals at the core of American democracy. Invited by The Wolfsonian, sixty leading contemporary artists and designers were asked to reconsider Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings, also reproduced as posters by the U.S. Office of War Information, that conveyed the meaning of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech to Congress and the American people. Rallying the country to defend the democratic way of life in 1941 when Europe was at war, FDR envisioned a world "founded upon four essential human freedoms"—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Working from this foundation, the contemporary artists and designers created new works, all reflecting contemporary ideas about democracy, that were shown in the museum's lobby and large-scale at Aventura Mall.

Participating artists included Neville Brody, Seymour Chwast, Wim Crouwel, Elliott Earls, Richard Tuttle, Lawrence Weiner, Paula Scher, Francesco Vezzoli, Chip Kidd, and Italo Lupi, among others.

Thoughts on Democracy was accompanied by an installation of work by Francesco Vezzoli, Democrazy, and inspired an updated iteration eight years later, Thoughts on Democracy: Freedom to Vote 2016. It was supported by the Knight New Work Award from the Funding Arts Network (FAN), in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; American Express; The Miami Herald; and Continental Airlines; with additional support provided by Turnberry for the Arts exhibited at Aventura Mall.

Traveled to:
National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City
Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
AASCU members
Miami Beach City Hall Gallery
Miami International Airport
Galeria Metropolitana, Mexico City
U.S. Embassies in Beijing and Montevideo
U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana