March 15, 2019 — July 14, 2019
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 explores artistic reactions to the Vietnam War created during the height of the US intervention in Southeast Asia.
An unpopular and internally divisive conflict, America’s war in Vietnam had a pervasive cultural impact. In visual art, it prompted a return to social content and the rise of forms, such as institutional critique and body art, that reject an aesthetics of distance and indifference. The exhibition highlights artists who sought to engage—with their current moment, with the public sphere, and with politics. The war can be read in the imagery and tenor of their work as well as in the strategies of opposition and critique that came to define the epoch. The exhibition includes work by more than fifty artists and traces developments across multiple media and movements: painting, sculpture and graphic art; performance and body art; documentary cinema and photography; and conceptualism.
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 is organized by Melissa Ho, SAAM’s curator of twentieth-century art. An exhibition catalogue is forthcoming.
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Sheri and Joe Boulos, the Gene Davis Memorial Fund, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Grant Program, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.