Join the Indianapolis Art Center this fall as they explore the impact the Vietnam War has had on the visual and literary artists who participated in it as soldiers. The Center will host several events, six exhibitions, a panel discussion and numerous other programs in an effort to understand how active combat affects an artist's later work. A community component of the project will feature artwork by Central Indiana veterans of overseas conflicts.
During the Vietnam war the U.S. Army operated the Combat Artist Program, which selected soldiers with artistic training and assigned them to "paint what they saw" in combat zones. These artists drew, painted and sculpted their vision of the war with virtually no restrictions on themes, geography or subject matter. The Center will show a selection of works created between 1966 and 1971 by 37 of these artists, as well as a one-person show of work by former Combat Artist Richard Emery Nickolson, now on the faculty of the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis.
Also on view will be work by California glass artist Michael Aschenbrenner and Kentucky fiber artist Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, both nationally-recognized artists and members of the Chicago-based National Vietnam Veterans Arts Group. Aschenbrenner's work has for a long time consisted of his "Damaged Bone" series, which refers to the leg wound he suffered during the war but is less about the specific event of getting wounded than about the circumstances, conditions and environments that affect the individual. Sandoval uses a variety of materials--mylar, film, netting, even old painted canvases--and stitches them into collages featuring the American flag or other symbols relating to war. Recent themes in his work are that of terrorism and total nuclear annihilation. Sandoval also discovered that his Spanish ancestors had been weavers for over two centuries, and has incorporated weaving and interlacing techniques in all of his fiber creations.
Yet another aspect of Vietnam war art is the work by the military's combat photographers who were occasionally civilians but who were primarily soldiers. These images, held by the National Archives, shaped the public's perception of the war and served not only a journalistic and documentary function at the time but today stand also as great works of fine art. On show will be a selection of 40 classic images.
Visiting writers, including poets W.D. Ehrhart and Yusef Komunyakaa, will give readings throughout the project and lead discussions about literature by Vietnam veterans. An Educator Resource Guide will be distributed to area teachers with suggestions for guided school visits of the exhibition.
For more information, contact Julia Muney Moore, Director of Exhibitions and Artist Services, Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220, (317) 255-2464 x233; FAX (317) 254-0486; email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Art of Combat: Artists and the Vietnam War, Then and Now
Friday, December 8, 6-8 p.m. Free and open to the public.
Combat Artists of the Vietnam War: Selections from the Collection of the U.S. Army Center for Military History
Churchman-Fehsenfeld Gallery, October 27-January 7
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Michael Aschenbrenner: The Damaged Bone Series
Richard Emery Nickolson: Souvenirs of War and the "Alignements"
Combat Photography of the Vietnam War
The Art of Combat: Community Connections
Friday, October 27, 7-9 p.m., Frank Basile Auditorium. Donations accepted.
Saturday, October 28, 10am-noon., Frank Basile Auditorium. Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, November 1, 7-9 p.m., Ruth Lilly Library. Free and open to the public.
Friday, November 10, 7-9 p.m., Frank Basile Auditorium. Free and open to the public.
Saturday, November 11, 10am-noon, Frank Basile Auditorium. Donations accepted.
Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12, 9am-4pm each day. "Mixed Media Collage," Taggart Studio,
$141 members, $155 nonmembers.
Wednesday, November 15, 7-9 p.m., Ruth Lilly Library. Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, November 29, 7-9 p.m., Frank Basile Auditorium. Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, December 5, 7-9 p.m., Ruth Lilly Library. Free and open to the public.
School tours of the exhibitions are available during the month of November, 2000. A free Educator Resource Guide is available upon request. For more information about school programming, please contact Julia Muney Moore, Director of Exhibitions and Artist Services, (317) 255-2464 x233.
Indianapolis Art Center website: http://www.indplsartcenter.org -- Julia Muney Moore informs me that they don't have anything up yet except a one-page banner for the project, and really won't have much of substance there until mid-September. They will also be releasing an Educator Resource Guide around the first of October, and posting it on the website for free downloading around that same time (.pdf format). Their big publicity push will hit around October 1.
My thanks to Jim Pollock for first contacting me and subsequently drawing my attention to this event. Also, to Julia Muney Moore, Director of Exhibitions and Artist Services at the Indianapolis Art Center, for providing the information.