Americana ArtistsArtists Americana
1965-1975, Vietnam, the War of American Art
The exhibition Artists Respond: The Vietnam War, 1965-1975, presents art created in the midst of this turmoil that traverses the period from the deadly decision of President Lyndon B. Johnson to deploy US ground troops in South Vietnam in 1965 to the fall of Sài Gòn ten years later.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the United States found itself in a comprehensive conflict both in Vietnam, against a foreign power, and at home, between Americans for and against war, for and against the status quo. What was more, the United States was in a state of conflict between the Americans for and against war. "The Artists Respond" - open until August 18 at the SAAM (Smithsonian American Art Museum) in Washingtonn - is the most comprehensive opportunity to explore the contemporary impact of the Vietnam War on American art.
The exhibition is unprecedented in its historical dimension and depth and gathers nearly 100 works by fifty-eight of the most visionary and provocative artists of the time. Galvanized by the moral urgency of the Vietnam War, these artists have redefined the goals and applications of art, influencing its development in various movements and media: painting, sculpture, engraving, performing arts, installation, documentary art, and conceptualism.
This exhibition presents well-known and rarely discussed works and offers a broader view of American art during the war and introduces a variety of previously marginalized artistic voices, including women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians. The exhibition brings to life a time when artists try to respond to turbulent times and openly discuss central issues of American civic life.
The Artists Responding: Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975, is organized by Melissa Ho, curator of 20th century art at the Museum of Art, Smith'sonian America. An installation by the internationally renowned artist Tiffany Chung also exists in this context. Past Is Prologue, analyzes the legacy of the Vietnam War and its consequences using maps, images, and videos that tell the stories of former Vietnamese refugees.