Daniel LaRue Johnson Freedom Now, Number 1 August 13, 1963 - January 14, 1964

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 408 The David Geffen Wing

In 1963, inspired by the intensifying Civil Rights Movement, Los Angeles–based Johnson conducted research in ten southern states and collected objects for his constructions. They included a dismembered doll, a mousetrap, a hacksaw, and a “Freedom Now” button—a relic of the Congress of Racial Equality, an interracial activist group that organized freedom rides protesting segregation. The objects are almost entirely obscured by pitch—a resin used for waterproofing boats as well as tarring individuals for public torture—and evoke the domestic and mundane threat of violence.

Gallery label from 2020.
Pitch on canvas with "Freedom Now" button, broken doll, hacksaw, mousetrap, flexible tube, and wood
53 7/8 x 55 3/8 x 7 1/2" (136.6 x 140.5 x 18.9 cm)
Given anonymously
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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