U   N   S   U   N   G

MARCH 17 - APRIL 22, 2018


PREVIEW: MARCH 8 - 16, 2018


       501 WEST 23RD STREET

       NEW YORK, NY






MARCH 17 - APRIL 22, 2018


PREVIEW: MARCH 8 - 16, 2018





To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present. - Howard Zinn, Unsung Heroes

Jim Kempner Fine Art is pleased to announce UNSUNG, its first exhibition with the contemporary figurative painter Carole Freeman. The exhibition features twenty-four 12 x 9” portraits of little known or not-known-enough American heroes who represent a range of social and political issues including sexual harassment, fake news and the “post-truth” moment, racism, the environment, terrorism, Islamophobia, and civil, LGBTQ and women’s rights. UNSUNG will run from March 17- April 22, 2018, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 17, from 4-6 pm.

Carole Freeman subversively takes on topical issues through her depictions of controversial and courageous figures. Consideration of historical and present day events and statistical details led to a roster of subjects who reflect the diversity of the US population. Subjects are as varied as a physician, intellectuals, a mother, pilots, a miner, a sex educator, and politicians. Freeman’s portraits, realized from sourced images, are imbued with a compelling and vivid immediacy. Modest in size yet powerful in concept and execution, these luminous paintings affirm the quiet potency of the portrait genre. UNSUNG, an implied yet meaningful meditation on the present US political climate, offers an aesthetic and provocative chant for the possibilities of beauty and good in chaos.

Examples from the exhibition include William Moore McCulloch who worked tirelessly for equal rights at the risk of political suicide and was recognized by President Kennedy for his important influence in passing the Civil Rights Act; Edward Brooke, one of the first Republicans to call on President Nixon to resign in light of the Watergate scandal; Mose Wright, the great uncle of Emmett Till, who in 1955 testified at the trial of the men who brutally abducted, tortured, and murdered a fourteen-year-old African-American boy for allegedly whistling at a white woman; and Lois Jenson, a Minnesota miner who, in 1988, led Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. and won the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in the United States.

Also represented are four New Yorkers: Jane Jacobs, a journalist, author, and activist who fought and stopped the Robert Moses Lower Manhattan Expressway; Amy Goodman who is an investigative journalist considered a “guardian of truth” by Rolling Stone magazine, and the host and producer of the news program Democracy Now!; Muhammed Salman Hamdani, a Muslim NYC Police Department cadet killed while helping others during the aftermath of 9/11 yet falsely investigated for possible involvement; and Sylvia Rae Rivera, a transgender activist and self-proclaimed drag queen who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) organization.


W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt) du Bois (1868 -1963)

American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer, and editor, co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in 1909 first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University, rose to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement - a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks, popularized the use of the term “color line” to represent the injustice of the separate but equal doctrine.

Edward Brooke (1919 – 2015)

Politician, lawyer, Massachusetts Attorney General, liberal Republican, first African American elected to the United States Senate by popular vote in 1966, co-wrote the Civil Rights Act of 1968, one of the first Republicans to call on President Nixon to resign in light of the Watergate Scandal.

Rachel Carson (1919 – 2015)

Ecologist, marine biologist, pioneer in nature writing, considered the godmother of the environmental movement, lobbied against the use of pesticides.and the impact of humans on the natural world, Silent Spring  catalyzed the global environmental movement.

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)

America’s premier dissident intellectual, author of more than 100 books, social critic, political activist, preeminent public intellectual, founder of modern linguistics, one of the most cited scholars in modern history.

Jerrie Cobb (b. 1931)

Pilot, consultant to the NASA space program, NASA's first female astronaut candidate denied the opportunity because she was a woman, world records for speed, distance, and absolute altitude, 30 years of missionary work / humanitarian flying in South America.

Mary Ware Dennett (1872 – 1947)

Radical sex educator, worked for the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA), wrote “truth-telling” 16-page manual in 1915, The Sex Side of Life, An Explanation for Young People, charged with promoting “obscenity”.

Elizabeth Eckford (b.1941)

Symbol for the Civil Rights Movement and the inequalities that continue to plague the United States, considered the first African-American student to integrate a southern high school after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. part of the “Little Rock Nine” - a group of black students chosen to attend Little Rock Central High School based on high grades and attendance.  Due to her family’s lack of a telephone, Eckford was unaware of a plan made for the Little Rock Nine to enter together safely through a back entrance of the school. This event led to the now iconic image of Eckford walking alone through a large crowd of protestors, seemingly unfazed by the threats of the mob.

Dr. Paul Framer (b. 1959)

Physician, anthropologist, author, chief strategist and co-founder of Partners In Health, University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti, has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality.

Amy Goodman (b. 1957)

Investigative journalist, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, “as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business”, “guardian of truth” (Rolling Stone), has written six New York Times bestsellers including Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing AmericaThe Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations.

Glenn Greenwald (b. 1967)

Attorney, journalist, co-founding editor of The Intercept. rose to prominence through his reports on Edward Snowden and global surveillance by the U.S. and British governments,  four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, NSA reporting for The Guardian, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

Mohammed Salman Hamdani (1977-2001)

A Pakistani American New York City Police Department cadet and emergency medical technician, killed while helping in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center, yet falsely investigated for possible involvement with the perpetrators.

Dolores Huerta (b. 1930)

Radical labour and civil rights activist, known for her work in the Latin and LGBTQ+ communities, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, yet overshadowed by her partner Cesar Chavez.

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006)

American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban planning and introducing the socio-economic concepts of “social capital” and “eyes on the street”, wrote The Life and Death of Great American Cities, fought and stopped the Robert Moses Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Lois Jenson (b. 1948)

One of the first women to work in the iron mines of Minnesota, Jenson championed equal rights for women in the workplace by filing and winning the first United States, class action sexual harassment lawsuit by women against their employer, Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.

Lilly Ledbetter (b. 1938)

Best known as the plaintiff for the case which led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, suing Goodyear in 1998 for paying her less over her working years than her male co-workers. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a stirring dissent after the Supreme Court did not rule in her favour.

William Griffith Wilson (1895-1971) 

Co-founder Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) an international mutual aid fellowship with over two million members belonging to 100,800 groups of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. 

Candy Lightner  (b.1946)

Founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), after her teenage daughter was killed by a drunk driver, pioneer of one of the most influential organizations in U.S. history.

Mose Wright (1885-1973)

The great uncle of Emmett Till, a 14-year old African-American boy who was brutally murdered by two white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman, testified under threats against his life at the Mississippi trial of the murderers in an environment sweltering with Mississippi racism.

William Moore McCulloch (1901-1980)

A Republican politician from Ohio who acted as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1973, ranking member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, took a leading role in the civil rights movement, introduced civil rights legislation months before Kennedy presented his act to congress, even though it was considered political suicide

Bill McKibben  (b. 1960)

Environmentalist, author, journalist, has written extensively on the impact of global warming for New York Review of BooksNational Geographic, and Rolling Stone, lead largest civil disobedience act to protest the Keystone XL pipeline

Hugh Thompson Jr. (1943 - 2006)

A helicopter pilot and then Warrant Officer to the United States Army, Vietnam hero, rescued Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre, reported the killings to his superior officers, testified at the inquiries and received a commendation from the Army three decades later.

Richard Oakes (1942–1972) 

Mohawk Native American activist, promoted the fundamental idea that Native peoples have a right to sovereignty, justice, respect, control over their own destinies, his legacy reflects the struggles of Native peoples and all people to maintain their land, identity, and ways of life, spurred Native American studies in university curricula and changes in US federal government policy toward Native Americans, led the occupation of Alcatraz Island.

Sylvia Rae Rivera (1951-2002) 

American gay liberation and transgender activist and self-proclaimed drag queen, founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, and START (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).

Marvin J. Sonosky (1909 - 1997)

Washington lawyer, and coincidently the artists’ great uncle, litigated for 24 years the first successful Sioux Nation land claim of the Black Hills of South Dakota, considered sacred ground, where the recent Keystone pipeline protests took place

Carole Freeman © 2016 All Images. All Rights Reserved

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All Portraits:

oil on linen

9 x 12 inches each