We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz — at THE JEWISH MUSEUM

We Fight to Build a Free World
An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, New York 10128
October 1, 2020 – February 7, 2021

This exhibition, organized by artist Jonathan Horowitz, brings together more than 70 voices, ranging from an 18th century portraitist to contemporary artists commissioned for this exhibition, to draw connections between historical oppression and the cultural and political challenges we confront in the world today.

Originally scheduled to open in March 2020, We Fight to Build a Free World is an exhibition curated by Jonathan Horowitz, a New York-based artist who for three decades has made work that engages critically with politics and culture. Under his direction, the exhibition looks at how artists have historically responded to the rise of authoritarianism and xenophobia as well as racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry. The exhibition also addresses issues surrounding immigration, assimilation, and cultural identity. 

Conceived from a starting point in 2017 of addressing the resurgence of anti-Semitism, this exhibition uses a broader lens to look at oppression and bigotry. The relevance of this exhibition has become more acute as the country reels from numerous incidents of police brutality towards people of color and a reckoning with the history of systemic racism. In the organization of this project, Jonathan Horowitz has acted as curator, researcher, activist, and artist.

The exhibition’s title, We Fight to Build a Free World, is adapted from a painting by Ben Shahn, which will be on view.  The installation juxtaposes diverse works, making thematic connections across time and place, raising questions and fostering dialogue.

Featuring more than 80 works of painting, sculpture, photography, and video, the exhibition includes examples of American social realism from the 1930s and 1940s and new works by Jonathan Horowitz, as well as 36 commissioned protest posters by contemporary artists, including Judith Bernstein, Marcel Dzama, Rico Gatson, Kim Gordon and Jason Smith, Cheyenne Julien, Christine Sun Kim, Guadalupe Maravilla, and Marilyn Minter. Also included are works by Asco, Huma Bhabha, Enrique Chagoya, Robert Colescott, Philip Evergood, Luis Jiménez, Rebecca Lepkoff, Glenn Ligon, Abraham Manievich, Bernard Perlin, Adrian Piper, Fritz Scholder, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Henry Sugimoto, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Max Weber, and Charles White, among others.