This quarter, the topic of artists’ reactions to war was covered similarly by two different articles. Both give examples of exhibitions for art that show the true pain behind war. One focuses on time in the sense that humans at any time feel similar pain from war (by displaying art from a span of over 200 years that hold similar themes), and the other focuses on it in the sense that pain sticks with the sufferer for much longer than the event itself (by displaying art of the pains of WWI 100 years later.)
I found that the Modern Warfare article took a much less nihilistic view of portrayal of war. In their description of the contrasting portraits of leaders and soldiers, the author included Moorhouse saying that they were all “in it together, trying to make the best of an impossible situation.” It seems to focus more on artists’ impact in the sense of making war personal again rather than making war horrific again.
One interesting point I noted in both articles was curators’ comments on photojournalism as war art. In the Horrors article, the curator says that if the photo causes the viewer to feel something deeply and fully, then it is art, regardless of how it was first published. The Modern Warfare article curator, however, says that photojournalism has less intent. The photographs included in that exhibition are part of an artistic project about representing the suffering of a place, whereas photojournalism simply documents an event there. I think this is an interesting topic to discuss in the seminar – does it matter how much intent was put behind the photos for them to be effective “war art”?
I found the concluding paragraph of the Horrors article to be a bit confusing. After spending the article talking about the progression of depiction of war throughout history as a very general trend, it concludes by claiming that each generation of artists must reinvent the depiction. Then says “today’s artists are not alone” because past artists have shown them how to portray war through art. I don’t know, I just felt like it didn’t really fit with the rest of the article accurately. But I guess that’s more of a criticism of the article than a discussion of its contents.
Kristin Hines - Student artist at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School