We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz

The Jewish Museum

We Fight to Build a Free World is an exhibition curated by the artist Jonathan Horowitz. The exhibition looks at how artists have historically responded to the rise of authoritarianism and xenophobia as well as racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry. The exhibition also addresses issues surrounding immigration, assimilation, and cultural identity.


Through a collaborative process we worked with Horowitz and the museum to develope the exhibition experience and flow, its multiple image juxtapositions and re-contextualizations, as well as interpretative graphics and all production aspects.


October 1, 2020 – January 24, 2020. View the exhibition page at TheJewishMuseum.org.


All photographs by Thomas Müller.

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The exhibition graphics are installed as wheat pasted posters, a nod towards one of the key works in the exhibition: Ben Shahn, We Fight for a Free World!, c. 1942. This piece depicts a series of wheat pasted posters that Shahn designed for The Office of War Information. It has been central to Horowitz’s thinking and inspired the name to the exhibition. In a tribute to Shahn, Horowitz approached 36 contemporary artists who contributed their own protest poster to the exhibition, seen in this sightline.

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The areas leading into the galleries were painted in “Post No Bills” construction-site-green.

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The wallpaper in this gallery is a work by Horowitz titled “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century” plus ninety--two more (2020). In it Horowitz expanded on Warhol’s series of screenprinted paintings Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century to include other Warhol portraits of Jewish subjects. It is a backdrop to other works dealing with questions of identity, passing, and assimilation.

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Installation view of 36 contemporary protest posters which were commissioned specifically for this exhibition.

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Installation view of contemporary protest posters which were commissioned specifically for this exhibition.

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Installation view of Ben Shahn, We Fight for a Free World!, c. 1942.

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Installation view of Jonathan Horowitz, Untitled (August 23, 2017–February 18, 2018, Charlottesville, VA), 2020.

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Installation view of Think About What You Saw, graphic design from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. reproduced by Horowitz as a last parting message.