14 April 2008

Missed Opportunity

29 Palms: Corporal Hoepper, 2003-04 © An-My Lê

Untitled © Steve Mumford

Brick Sellers of Kabul, 2006 [video still] © Lida Abdul

Imagine Peace, 2003 © Yoko Ono

Dog and Skull, 2004 © Leon Golub

Anna & I Get Shot © Mark Hogancamp

Yesterday, I posted on the difficulties involved in conceptualizing 'distance' when thinking about images of war and other sorts of mayhem. I received in reply an e-mail from Beth Wilson, an art historian and critic, about an exhibition at the Dorsky Museum of Art (SUNY - New Paltz) entitled "Intimacies of Distant War." Each of the images in this post show works from the exhibition. The museum web page states: "This exhibition, an attempt to put the current war on view and in context, brings together past and current work by Lida Abdul, Leon Golub, Daniel Heyman, An-My Lê, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann and others. These artists, in disparate but connected ways, investigate the intimate emotional impact of distant conflicts."

Ironically, the show closed yesterday. That said, Beth had written a really perceptive review connecting the themes of distance and intimacy on display here with the way those themes played out in the controversy that percolated just up the Hudson where both the City of Troy and RPI recently censored the work of Wafaa Bilal. (I posted on that travesty here.) You can find a review of "Intimacies" from The New York Times here and Beth's review from Chronogram here. I guess my question is whether Americans, who seem to be assiduously avoiding any and all exposure to the brutalities of our Iraq war in popular culture, will pay much attention to the museum exhibition.

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