Freedom From What?
I grew up loving Norman Rockwell’s joyful vision of America, even though I never saw anybody who looked like me in his loving, patriotic scenes. For my series, “Reinventing Rockwell,” I wanted to make sure nobody would feel left out. My updates feature types who rarely were allowed stature in Rockwell’s world: African-Americans, Asians, gays, transsexuals, Jews, Hindus, the disabled, and a full rainbow of characters. In Freedom From What, I changed the cast, the lighting, some props, and the newspaper headline. My viewers can see how the loving family from Rockwell’s Freedom From Fear might look in a different time and neighborhood.
I never imagined the image would be marched through the streets on protest posters, or tour the world as part of “Enduring Ideals: Reimagining the Four Freedoms,” opening May 25 at the Roosevelt House, in tandem with Rockwell’s original in “Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms" at the New-York Historical Society.