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Marquette University's Haggerty Museum of Art opens fall season with three new exhibitions
Michael Ray Charles (American, b. 1967), (Forever Free) Mixed Breed, 1997. Acrylic latex, stain and copper penny on canvas tarp, 99 x 111". Collection of Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York. EL2012.5.22

MILWAUKEE, WIS.- The Haggerty Museum of Art on the campus of Marquette University will feature three exhibitions from August 22 through December 22, 2012, including Thenceforward, and Forever Free; Freedom Of/For/To Photography from the Permanent Collection; and The Freedom Project: Text/Context An exhibition by the Chipstone Foundation.

Thenceforward, and Forever Free
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University presents the exhibition Thenceforward, and Forever Freefrom August 22-December 22, 2012. The exhibition features seven contemporary artists whose work deals with issues of race, gender, privilege, and identity, and more broadly conveys interpretations of the notion of freedom. Artists in Thenceforward are: Laylah Ali, Willie Birch, Michael Ray Charles, Gary Simmons, Elisabeth Subrin, Mark Wagner, and Kara Walker. The exhibition includes works in diverse media, from Wagner’s 17-foot-tall collage made from 1,121 dollar bills to Simmons’s site-specific chalk drawing installation to Subrin’s two-channel, HD video. Paintings by Charles and Birch, drawings by Ali, and prints by Walker are also featured. Essayists for the exhibition catalogue are Dr. A. Kristen Foster, associate professor, Department of History, Marquette University, and Ms. Kali Murray, assistant professor, Marquette University Law School.

Thenceforward, and Forever Free takes place as part of the Freedom Project, a yearlong exploration of the many meanings of freedom in the United States and in the world. The Project is Marquette University’s commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Two lectures sponsored by the history department will frame the commemoration. In September 2012, Steven Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in History for A Nation Under our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, will deliver the Klement Lecture on the meanings of emancipation. In April 2013, Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan and an expert on emancipation in the Caribbean, will deliver the Casper Lecture. A number of other units on campus—including the Raynor Memorial Libraries and the Department of Performing Arts—have also planned events to coincide with the commemoration.

Freedom Of/For/To Photography from the Permanent Collection
In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to guarantee respect for, and observance of, certain fundamental freedoms for all. Since then, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, the right to education, the right to vote, the right to citizenship, the right to own property, and the right to work, among others, have been codified and, theoretically, protected internationally.

The word “freedom” has been essential to how Americans understand themselves and their country since its founding, but in the post 9/11 era, the term has become particularly ubiquitous. Idealized, politicized, or played for applause, “freedom” resonates with the public, despite the fact that the abstract concept has no fixed meaning.

The exhibition Freedom Of/For/To is comprised of contemporary photographs from the museum’s permanent collection that explore the fluid definition of the word and elicit questions about our collective (mis)understanding of freedom at home and abroad. The photographers represented in the exhibition, including Adam Bartos, Edward Burtynsky, William Clift, Stella Johnson, Miguel Rio Branco, Irina Rozovsky, and Joel Sternfeld, offer a variety of viewpoints that encourage us to consider how we define and protect freedom in a global context.

The Freedom Project: Text/Context An exhibition by the Chipstone Foundation
History—the study of past human events, words, and creations—is an imprecise science. The authoritative words we read in history books often do not fully correspond with reality. This inconsistency applies not only to the interpretive words written by historians, but also to the original quotes uttered by figures from the past. In this gallery, you encounter a small gathering of objects that are in one way or another linked to the laudable concept of human freedom. Yet their stories are complex and, at times, conflicted. They suggest that understanding the past begins when we consider multiple perspectives and voices—when we replace the idea of “reading history” with the broader concept of “exposing histories.”

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August 22, 2012

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