For Freedoms bench emblazoned with HUMBLE HUBRIS: DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT (TIL IT'S GONE) (2013), outside MOCA, Los Angles, CA. Photo: Jacqueline Verdugo and Ural Garrett

For Freedoms Congress: Benches

Los Angeles, CA

In early 2020, hundreds of highly creative individuals–artists, academics, cultural leaders, and social activists–headed to the For Freedoms Congress in Los Angeles. Billed as the largest gathering of its kind, the four-day event featured a full schedule of artist-led discussions, workshops, performances, and town hall meetings.The goal: to heal the divided political landscape through culture and creativity, to identify shared values, and to collaborate to find solutions to the problems of our times, including immigration, gun violence, discrimination, climate change, and access to health care.

For the ambitious event, Crown created four public benches, which were placed at Hammer Museum and the Geffen Contemporary Warehouse at MOCA. The benches were emblazoned with some of Crown’s most powerful messages–THOUGHTS & PRAYERS, HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE, LIAR LIAR PLANET’S ON FIRE, and HUMBLE HUBRIS, which makes a terrifying statement about the role the oil industry has historically played in the destruction of the glaciers.  

 Many city benches now incorporate seat dividers to deter homeless people from using them to sleep. In Los Angeles, a city with a critical shortage of affordable housing, such benches abound. These do not address the core problem of housing, basic needs, and services for our fellow citizens. Those without a home need compassion, health, and support, not more constraints. Crown’s benches are intentionally designed without separators.