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

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 "Collection 1940s—1970s", 2019
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

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.