Saturday, November 3, 2012

Burden of Proof: National Identity, Legacy of War

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta presents ‘Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War’, an exhibition inspired by the campus-wide reading of Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried, a fictionalized account of the author's time as an American soldier in Vietnam.

The exhibition explores the juxtaposition of the American and Vietnamese experience of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Artists Dinh Q. Lê, Sheila Pree Bright, Keisha Luce and Kirk Torregrossa are featured. On view are Bright's Young Americans c-print series, Luce's Sum & Parts sculpture series documented by Torregrossa, woven c-print pieces by Dinh Q. Lê, as well as a selection of North Vietnamese propaganda posters from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

The series depicts young adults with the American flag illustrating the often discordant relationship between Generation Y and their experience as Americans. Luce’s series is the culmination of a two-month journey to Vietnam to create body castings of people living with the long-term effects of Agent Orange. Torregrossa’s photographs document every step of the Sum & Parts journey. Lê’s c-prints employ a Vietnamese basket weaving technique to literally interweave experiences reflecting the artist’s impressions as a child in Vietnam and as a young adult in California.

“The cultural, physical, and emotional dissonance explored by these artists raise many questions regarding the burden of war,” says Elizabeth Peterson, curator and director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, “It’s a legacy that crosses borders and is carried through generations.”  Peterson, who has just joined the museum, has a keen interest in international and humanitarian issues in exhibition programming and in increasing engagement with the greater Atlanta community.

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art showcases artworks which both inform and exhilarate visitors. Whether Buddhas from around the world, paintings by Russian master Nicholas Roerich, or sculptures of American master Duane Hanson, it looks to provide a meaningful experience for viewers.

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