Wars affect the lives of millions of people and inspire courage and patriotism as well as conversation, debate, and criticism of the atrocities committed in the line of battle and the lingering consequences of armed conflict. This exhibition presents an array of objects, drawn entirely from the Museum’s permanent collection, that respond to instances of American involvement in global conflict from the end of the first World War to the present day. The presence of American propaganda posters coupled with contemporary works by artists such as An-My Lê and Martha Rosler serve to challenge the ideas and conventions surrounding wars in which the United States have been involved since 1918.
The juxtaposition of contemporary works in this exhibition with American propaganda posters that once urged many to support involvement in both World War I and World War II creates multifaceted conversations between the past and present. Although divided in opinion and message, these works reflect the ideas and opinions of citizens who chose to create a visual response to World War I, World War II, and to the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
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