Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975

March 15, 2019 — August 18, 2019

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and F Streets, NW)

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.

Media - 2013.24.1A-B - SAAM-2013.24.1A-B_4 - 129174

Carlos Irizarry, Moratorium, 1969, screenprint, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2013.24.1A-B. © 1969, Carlos Irizarry


Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation, Sheri and Joe Boulos, the Gene Davis Memorial Fund, Glenstone Foundation, Norbert Hornstein and Amy Weinberg, the Henry Luce Foundation, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, Cindy Miscikowski, Daniel C. and Teresa Moran Schwartz, the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Grant Program, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The Terra Foundation logo and the Henry Luce Foundation logo