A Million Times – The Freedom Wall

A Million Times doesn’t necessarily have to focus on the egg and dart, piloti or joists. Sometimes it’s about a freedom wall.

Today’s A Million Times is the crazy wall with the names on it in River North. You know this wall, you’ve seen it on the brown line between the Chicago stop and the Merchandise Mart. It’s the big wall of names and they’re seemingly unrelated. Once you take a closer look (like when the train is stuck for fifteen minutes and you’re already fifteen minutes late for work)  the meaning of the work starts to pop out.

The Freedom Wall

That’s it’s official name and it was designed by artist Adam Brooks. Brooks often uses words in his art and during the 1992 Presidential Campaign he began to wonder about the word “freedom.” He sent out 600 emails asking what person best represents freedom. The most popular answer was Martin Luther King so then King jumps to the top of the list. The other names are in order by their vote tally.

There are some weird ones on there, like Rush Limbaugh (I’m sure he must represent freedom to someone…) and Dr. Kevorkian. If you look at it closely you’ll notice there is a blank spot, that’s for the people who answered that no one person could embody freedom.

Chicagoist did a podcast with Adam Brooks and asked him all kinds of cool things about the Freedom Wall, you can find that here.

It’s amazing to me this wall continues to confuse even the heartiest of Chicago souls. I also wonder who is in charge of it now and when the names might ever change.

6 thoughts on “A Million Times – The Freedom Wall

  1. I have ALWAYS wondered about the blank spot. WHO could have had their name taken off I always wondered????


  2. I’ve always wondered about this piece too! I figured the black spot was a disgraced celeb like OJ or R Kelly they had to take off.

    Speaking of art off the brown line, what’s up with the other piece further south of 2 people hanging on rope on the side of a building? Always wondered about that one.

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