An exhibition titled Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975 is opening on March 15 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets, NW. It will be open through August 18, 2019.
Bringing together 100 works of 58 visionary and provocative artists of the period, the exhibit recounts the influence of the Vietnam War on American art from the time when President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to deploy U.S. ground troops to South Vietnam in 1965 to the fall of Sài Gòn 10 years later.
“The exhibition is unprecedented in its historical scale and depth. Galvanized by the moral urgency of the Vietnam War, these artists reimagined the goals and uses of art, affecting developments in multiple movements and media: painting, sculpture, printmaking, performance, installation, documentary art, and conceptualism,” notes the exhibition brief.
People visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see the Vietnam War exhibit started to share on social media the pictures of some works that impressed them.
Went to see “ARTISTS RESPOND: American Art and the Vietnam War 1965-1975 “ and this photo single handedly ruined me. So sad. ♥️ Amazing art instillation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. pic.twitter.com/pbRpktKbaN
— Lindsay Lou ♦️ (@GloriousMuse13) March 15, 2019
In addition to the works of some well-known artists, rare artworks will also be on display, offering a comprehensive insight of American art during the Vietnam War. Many works of marginalized artists, including those of women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans, can be viewed as part of the collection. The exhibition shows an era when artists responded to political developments through their art and questioned this way issues concerning the American civic life.
Another exhibition titled Vietnam, Past Is Prologue will also show the works of internationally acclaimed Vietnamese artist Tiffany Chung. It explores the aftermath of the war via paintings, maps, and videos that narrate the stories of former Vietnamese refugees.
Artists whose artworks will be on display as part of Artists Respond include, among others, Carl Andre, Benny Andrews, Art Workers’ Coalition, Asco, Judith Bernstein, Chris Burden, T.C. Cannon, Mel Casas, Rosemarie Castoro, Judy Chicago, William Copley, Emile de Antonio, Mark di Suvero, James Gong Fu Dong, Dan Flavin, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Liliana Porter, Yvonne Rainer, Ad Reinhardt, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Peter Saul, Carolee Schneemann, Robert Smithson, Nancy Spero, May Stevens, Carol Summers, Paul Thek, Jesse Treviño, Tomi Ungerer, Timothy Washington, and William Weege.
Melissa Ho, the curator of 20th-century art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is the organizer of Artists Respond.
The exhibit is open from 11:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. and entry is free.