Freedom In Form: Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt (1935-2023) was a paragon artist of the 20th century. He was recognized as a singular talent while still a young artist, is regarded as an art vanguard by his contemporaries, and is unparalleled in public art commissions. Freedom in Form: Richard Hunt at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum presents, for the first time, Hunt's artistic achievements as a contribution to the national conversations about freedom and justice. The exhibition draws on the narrative of Black emancipation and the halting delivery of liberty to all people—history and heritage motivated Hunt’s 70 years of making art in America. Born on Chicago’s South Side, Hunt made his artistic home on Chicago’s north side, a perch from which he interpreted histories and myths with materials that built the modern urban metropolis: steel, bronze, and aluminum. During the second half of the last century, as the ‘long arc of the moral universe’ lashed to and fro, Hunt's life and artwork represent an abiding commitment to representing freedom and the possibility of transformational change.

Freedom in Form will allow visitors to view Hunt’s work informed by a Black historical perspective. The presence of voice and struggle through figures such as Frederick Douglass, Emmett Till, and Ida B. Wells will permeate and frame the experience – freedom takes many forms. For most of his career, Richard Hunt literally lived with his work at his studio - converting a City of Chicago utility building in 1971 in the Wrightwood Neighbors area near Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Freedom in Form will utilize the concept of place to situate the viewer to feel his presence through his personal effects, tools, materials and works. Media features with Hunt’s contemporaries will provide voices of tribute and perspective, coupling the lived experiences of the man with the wonders that are his creations.

Exhibit Dates: September 19, 2024  -  April 20, 2025

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