IMAGE: Jim Hodges, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress), 2014–2016. Installation rendering for The Contemporary Austin – The Moody Rooftop at the Jones Center, 2016. Artwork © the artist. Image courtesy the artist.

Jim Hodges and Dan Rather in Conversation: Happy Hour and Watch Party


Join us for a free, public Happy Hour and Watch Party on Austin Public at the AFS Screening Room at Austin Studios! We'll be screening a live broadcast of artist Jim Hodges and journalist Dan Rather in conversation, with complimentary happy hour provided by Strange Land Brewery.

Happy Hour and Watch Party will begin at 7:30P and are open to all, with live program beginning at 8:30P. Location: 1901 East 51st Street, Austin.

Hodges and Rather will discuss the artist's newly installed sculpture at the museum, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress), Hodges's body of work, and its broader context, meaning, and relevance.

Also streaming live! In partnership with Austin Film Society and Austin Public, and to make this program available to as many people as possible, this poignant conversation will also air live on Austin Public Channel 10 and AT&T U-verse cable 99 and will stream live at, beginning 8:30P, Thursday, December 15.

Production of this program is made possible through a partnership between The Contemporary Austin, Austin Film Society, and Austin Public, with production support from TourGigs.

About Jim Hodges's New Work

For the reopening of The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, the museum is proud to unveil a large-scale outdoor sculpture by Jim Hodges that will extend across the museum’s roofline, elevated prominently over Congress Avenue and 7th Street.

Touching on universal themes of justice, equality, community, and the underserved, With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) is also an elegant and visually beautiful artistic statement. The sculpture comprises seven-foot-high letters installed 51 feet above ground level and extending a total of 144 feet, 8 inches across. Coated in iridescent dichroic film and lit at night from within, the letters seem to shift colors with changes in light and the observer’s location and angle, bringing the viewers into the work as participants.

Hodges created With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) as an open-ended platform. He noted that the multiple interpretations and conversations that the piece may elicit are as integral to the work of art as are the materials with which it was constructed, and hopes that the piece will prompt questions and dialogue both within the museum and among the Austin community as a whole, particularly among individuals who may not otherwise engage with contemporary art.

“This work extends the artist’s long-standing use of simple gestures to powerful effect, as well as his interest in text to convey open-ended concepts. Most importantly, it will be visible and available to all,” said Senior Curator Heather Pesanti. “Although Hodges intended no particular political or didactic meaning, we look forward to the conversations that it will spark, especially poised, as it is, over Congress Avenue, just blocks from the State Capitol building.”

With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) will offer numerous opportunities for events and programs that explore the many interpretations of equality, social justice, and diversity. These will take shape throughout the life of the piece and will provide opportunities to partner with a range of local organizations and educational institutions.

“With a phrase taken from our Pledge of Allegiance, Hodges’s words can be meaningful to many with diverse opinions and platforms,” said Andrea Mellard, Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement. “It also raises questions about who does and doesn’t have access to liberty and justice. It’s a pledge, a mantra, a call to action, a reminder of our highest goals and idealism.”

With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress) is on long-term loan to The Contemporary Austin and is expected to be on view for several years, giving the public ample time to experience and reflect upon it, and offering many opportunities for meaningful programs about the work and the many ideas that it provokes.

Jim Hodges was born in 1957 in Spokane, Washington, and now lives and works in New York.