past exhibitions

Artists and War

February 10 — March 30, 2008

A multi-media group exhibition of artists from around the world creating art about the war or conflict. This is the first is a series of exhibitions that will ultimately result in a publication and touring exhibition about the subject.

SIAH ARMAJANI’s Fallujah, a monumental sculpture that echoes the themes and images of Picasso’s Guernica. Picasso was inspired by the Nazi German bombing of Gernika on April 26, 1937, just as Armajani made Fallujah in response to the April 28, 2003 beginning of combat in the city of Fallujah, Iraq. Fallujah was unveiled in April 2007 at the Artium de Alava in Vitoria, Spain, three miles from the village of Guernica, before returning to the States. The Lannan Foundation has purchased Fallujah and are loaning it to the exhibition before it becomes part of the Walker Art Center permanent collection. Armajani (b. 1939) is an Iranian-born American sculptor who moved to Minneapolis in 1960, where he continues to reside.

HANNA HANNAH, born in El Salvador, where her parents lived after they emigrated from Germany with the rise of National Socialism in 1939. She moved to the Untied States in 1958 at age eleven, leaving behind a familiar language and culture, and a country with an unsettling mix of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. She loved to read and later earned her masters degrees in French literature and painting. Currently she teaches in the Art Department at the University of California Santa Cruz. Hanna’s sense of displacement emerges as a theme in her paintings; her use of underlying text(ure) is embedded in the work. For her there is no separation between theory and practice.

DANIEL HEYMAN - For the past four years, Daniel Heyman has concentrated his art on making images about the war in Iraq, specifically the abuse and torture of innocent Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and other prisons. For this work, Heyman traveled to Jordan and Turkey where he has talked face to face with over twenty-five former detainees, painting their portraits and taking down their own versions of what happened to them at the hands of the American captors. Three of these detainees have since been killed in the war. Heyman continues to fly to the Middle East to witness and record the testimony of former victims of torture at Abu Ghraib. The depositions are being conducted by Attorney Susan Burke and a number of other concerned Americans who have brought a suit against those responsible for the horror at Abu Ghraib.

MIGUEL ANGEL ROJAS is one of a handful of Colombian artists who uses the processes, semantics and pragmatics of the medium of photography to expose unexpected layers of reality. His photo installation that echoes Michelangelo’s David will be in the exhibition. Rojas’s David suggests Michaelango's David in pose and form. His David, however, has lost the lower half of his leg to a land mine.

DAVID OPDYKE is installing Aerial Assumptions, an airborne installation of thousands of paper airplanes made from pages of an Arabic-English dictionary, specially commissioned for the Corcoran in Washington, DC. By day a professional model maker, David Opdyke's art rekindles childhood memories of such small-scale diversions as model building, miniature railroading, playing with Matchbox cars, and flying paper airplanes. But his child’s play suggests real war, real generals, and conflicts of whole cultures. According to Blake Gopnik of the Washington Post, one could argue that Opdyke’s toy-like fine detail is precisely what is needed to carry his political messages, which are all about a world ran by overgrown boys.

ADRIENNE NOELLE WERGE was born in Vietnam of a Vietnamese mother and American father, an American serviceman. As an infant at the end of the Vietnam War, she was adopted from an orphanage outside Saigon and grew up near the University of Notre Dame in Indiana where her father was a professor of English. She graduated with an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work, For Such a Time as This: Remembering Vietnam is about loss, identity and parents. The principle element in the installation is 240 helmets made of rice scattered randomly across the gallery floor.