Fragile Freedoms: Maggie Meiners Revisits Rockwell

February 7-June 13, 2021

This exhibition, featuring eighteen photographs by Maggie Meiners (b. 1972) from her Revisiting Rockwell series, reinterprets and updates Norman Rockwell’s nostalgic, iconic images of mid-century American life. Based in Winnetka, Illinois, Meiners was inspired by a visit in 2010 with her family to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. There she noticed that Rockwell’s engaging paintings “were really sparking conversations among visitors.” Meiners decided to recreate some of Rockwell’s classic paintings with the hope that “these images will be a platform for people to use for discussion, to expand dialogue while connecting people on all levels.”

The process of creating art is a restorative and healing experience for Maggie Meiners, addressing personal issues of mental health and addiction.  

Meiners’ works are complemented in this show by three original Norman Rockwell paintings, as well as other archival documents. Central to this exhibition are Meiners’ reinterpretations of Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want, which are seen here published in the Saturday Evening Post. These classic paintings have also been recreated in photographs by For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur.   

Look closely at these detailed photographs and compare them with Rockwell’s originals from the 1940s and 1950s. What has changed in the world since then?  What has stayed the same? Think about the artists’ perspectives on civic engagement, immigration, gun control, religion, gender, racism, and the impact of technology, and talk with the people you came here with about what we can do to protect our fragile freedoms.  

Gail Stavitsky, Chief Curator

Alison Van Denend, Assistant Curator 

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Fragile Freedoms: Maggie Meiners Revisits Rockwell is sponsored by Bank of America. This exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. All MAM programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.