In late 2020, as American voters were gearing up to cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, the Netherlands’ Kunsthal KAdE museum presented This Is America | Art USA Today. The exhibition, which ran for three months, enlisted about 40 American artists to express their thoughts on the most politically charged and divisive issues facing the nation at that moment. Through paintings, photographs, murals, collage, and installations, the makers addressed such hot-button topics as immigration, climate change, racism, religious fanaticism, income inequality, and LGBTQ and women’s rights.
A separate section of the exhibition was devoted the artist-created billboards commissioned in 2016 by For Freedoms as part of its 50 State Initiative. Crown’s striking, thought-provoking piece, THOUGHTS & PRAYERS, focuses on gun violence. It depicts two firearms–black on a black background, white on a white background–pointed at each other, directly beneath the cliched sentiments: “Thoughts” and “Prayers.”
This powerful piece is both a confrontation and a call to action. Crown asks viewers to choose between indifference and involvement, thereby urging them to help turn “thoughts and prayers” into public policy.