10 ART EXHIBITS HONORING VIETNAM WAR VETERANS
10 ART EXHIBITS HONORING VIETNAM WAR VETERANS
War memorials generally seek to honor and memorialize those who fought. War has a tremendous impact on both the population and the environment. It is the personal truth, often best expressed in artistic media, that truly honors those who fought or suffered in war. Artists and sculptors throughout history express themselves in hopes of communicating the effect of a particular war on the individual and the nation. Memorial Day is a good time to take a look at the array of art honoring those who fell in one of those wars, Vietnam. Viewing this art creates a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on the nation and those who survived. While the purpose of the war may be disputed, the artwork documents the era and honors those who answered the nation’s call.
The following 10 venues display art and photography documenting the Vietnam War. This list is not comprehensive although it does have variety. Some of the venues are digitized so that the explorer need not journey far to enjoy.
10. “Above and Beyond”
The Vietnam War Memorial
Exhibit: 2/20/2016 – 4/15/2019
Where: Harold Washington Library Center, (Chicago Public Library) 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605.
Above and Beyond Exhibit
This exhibit belongs to the Veterans Art Museum Collection and is currently on loan to the public library where it is installed over the escalator so that patrons view it from below. 58,307 dog tags showing name, date of death and military branch, represent military that perished in the Vietnam War.
Above and Beyond was created by veteran artists: Rick Steinbock, Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing. It originally opened on May 26, 2001 to coincide with Chicago’s Memorial Day parade.
9. National Veterans Art Museum
Where: (formerly the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum) 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Vietnam Veterans Artwork
National Veterans Art Museum
This entire museum is devoted to displaying art produced by veterans. Vietnam combat veterans formed an artist support group in Chicago in 1981. They produced and assembled an artistic and historical collection that became an emotional and inspiring statement of war on behalf of all veterans. Their first exhibit of veteran artwork was titled “Reflexes and Reflections” toured museums and galleries nationwide. In 2010, the word Vietnam was dropped. Today the National Veterans Art Museum houses a collection of over 2,500 works by more than 255 veteran artists, and includes paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music.
8. PDF: Art is a Symbol: Conceptualism and the Vietnam War
Download: Lehigh University Archives
King, Michael, “Art is a Symbol: Conceptualism and the Vietnam War” (2008). Volume 16 – 2008.Paper 7.
Michael King traced the rise of conceptualism (major art form of the 1960s) in art depicting warfighting and art used in political dissent. The search for truth as a driver of expression is one of his conclusions. Life and death was transformed into art. Michael makes a case for such a powerful medium of expression inspiring public dissent.
7. Online Art Gallery Exhibition: Fine Art America
Where: Vietnam War Art Gallery
This is a website gallery displaying a variety of photographs, lithographs, posters, doodles, paintings, drawings and films. The variety of theme is not often found in one place. While the art is for sale from this website, just as it would be in a storefront gallery, a visitor can tour the gallery virtually as well. Patriotic posters are arranged alongside dissenting pieces in a marketplace setting in which the only real intent is to sell the art and support the artist.
Shipping is available for nominal fees.
6. CASUALTIES OF WAR: UNFORGETTABLE PHOTOS OF THE VIETNAM ERA
Where: Faces of the Vietnam War
Artist: Michael Dukas, April 28, 2016
This is a collection of 30 photographs from the Vietnam War that the human toll of war on the anniversary (sort of) of the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Purple Clover makes frequent posts to Facebook.
5. Mott’s Military Museum
Exhibit: Vietnam War
Where: Motts Military Museum
5075 South Hamilton Rd
Groveport, Ohio 43125-9336
Mott’s Military Museum
This is more of a museum than “art” per se. Items used during the Vietnam War have been donated and preserved. There are hundreds of “military museums” of one description or another scattered around the country and if you are travelling many are worthy of a stopover. The items on display have historic significance in educating visitors about the political and national policies that led to war and the conduct of that war. Edward Arthur who served twice in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner donated many items to illustrate the museum’s educational program with personal history.
4. United States Air Force Art Collection
Where: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton, Ohio; Hill Aerospace Museum, Hill AFB, UT , the Air Force Security Forces Museum, Lackland AFB, TX and Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, AL.
Air Force Art Program
Go to the web site and enter Vietnam War in the search box and it will sort digitized art from the collection for you.
Air Force Art on Facebook
This collection has an interesting back story and is generally free for public viewing…..well, not exactly free, you just don’t exchange any money at the door. It began in 1950 with the assimilation of 800 pieces from the Army Air Corps documenting the early days of flight. The original concept was to tell the Air Force story through the medium of art. Responsibility for development was given the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Information Services. During that post-WWII era, the historians also belonged to that service so documentation was at the top of the list of objectives.
Telling the story of the young Air Force through art was a natural extension of the public relations and the work of historians. Artists were sponsored to cover facilities, events and combat operations. Members of the Society of Illustrators were dispatched all over the world to capture and document what was going on and tell the story in this media.
3. Visual Dispatches from the Vietnam War
Exhibit: Aug. 3, 2013 — Nov. 11, 2013
Where: Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
But, fear not, the exhibit is still online: Currier Art Museum
This 35 photograph exhibition represents the type of documentary evidence brought into American homes daily. Whether the family supported or dissented, it was not yet popular to simply turn off the nightly news. Visual imagery reached saturation in households. The horrors of war were ably documented by photographers Horst Faas, Henri Huet, Eddie Adams, Larry Burrows and Don McCullin. The Vietnam War was captured by government sponsored and public interest as well as corporate journalists, photographers and artists who exposed “the truth” as they understood it. The visual imagery is extremely powerful and influenced public opinion. The art testifies to the courage and artistry of those who made it, often at great hazard to themselves.
The Currier Museum of Art is internationally recognized and located in Manchester, New Hampshire.
2. The National Vietnam War Museum
Where: 12685 Mineral Wells Highway, Weatherford, Texas (about 50 miles West of Ft. Worth)
National Vietnam War Museum
This is really more of a museum than an art gallery and many of the exhibits include equipment, vehicles, reproductions of military habitats, assorted uniforms and other mementos. But, there are also a considerable number of pieces of art and graphic illustrations on display. The museum has both inside and outside exhibits including memorial gardens. The project was developed in 1998 as a national venue to educate visitors about the Vietnam War era, and is intended to serve all ages, nationalities, and political points of view.
It sits on 12 acres about 50 miles west of Ft. Worth. The Board of Directors has embraced the very broad mission of honoring more than 5 million servicemen and women who served in Vietnam, the civilian contractors; the Vietnamese people and those on the home front, both supporters and those who protested the war.
1. Cold War Gallery: Vietnam War
Exhibit: Continuous (after the museum opens)
Cold War Gallery: Vietnam War
Where: National Museum of the United States Army
Sited on 80 acres at Fort Belvoir, VA, south of Washington, D.C. When finished, this museum will house selections from over 15,000 pieces from the Army Art Collection and 30,000 artifacts, documents, and images. The current page that displays art and photography at the U.S. Army Military History Center, U.S. Army Art was last updated in 2010. The new home will display these priceless works, many for the first time, to be viewed by the public. Possibly due to its location, the directors anticipate an estimated 750,000 visitors every year. National Museum of the United States Army
The Vietnam War exhibit in the will be on display in the Cold War gallery in the joint entryway once the museum opens. The Grand Opening has now been delayed until 2018. Educational panels have been designed as part of the exhibit to explain the differences between conventional and unconventional war. The exhibit will focus on the U.S. Army’s involvement in Vietnam from 1960 to 1975. “The Vietnam Experience” will be somewhat interactive as visitors encounter a collage of images changing to accompanying music from the era.