Fred Hagstrom’s January 6 Acquired by the Smithsonian

7 February 2024
By Erica Helgerud ’20 | Photo by Harry Pound
Fred Hagstrom January 6 artist's book
“I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘this is how I am going to die…’” Fred Hagstrom’s January 6, quotes the emotional testimony of law enforcement officials, including Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, who feared for their lives on January 6, 2021.

The main element an artist needs to create a great artist’s book is a great text, according to Fred Hagstrom, Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Art, emeritus—and after he heard the congressional testimony of four police officers who fought against the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, he knew he had one.

Published by Strong Silent Type Press in 2021, Hagstrom’s January 6 features excerpts from the powerful accounts of four police officers—Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police, and Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police—given before the January 6 Committee on July 27, 2021. Iconic photographs taken on January 6 accompany every excerpt.

Hagstrom was particularly moved by Gonell’s testimony, so when he completed the 22-edition run of his artist’s book, he sent a copy to the officer. After receiving it, Gonell asked Hagstrom to send copies to the other three officers and had the idea to gather all of them together to sign an additional copy to send back to Hagstrom. Realizing how special that particular piece of art had become, Hagstrom knew he “wanted the signed copy to go to a significant collection.” His art dealers came through, and it was purchased by the Smithsonian to be placed in its American Art and Portrait Gallery Library in Washington, D.C., Hagstrom’s first book to be collected by the Smithsonian.

To see January 6, or Hagstrom’s books Deeply Honored and Returning Home, Carleton community members can make an appointment to visit Gould Library Special Collections, which has a copy of each artist’s book.

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