Kill for Peace: American Artists Against the Vietnam War

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University of Texas Press, Jul 15, 2013 - Art - 278 pages
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The Vietnam War (1964–1975) divided American society like no other war of the twentieth century, and some of the most memorable American art and art-related activism of the last fifty years protested U.S. involvement. At a time when Pop Art, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art dominated the American art world, individual artists and art collectives played a significant role in antiwar protest and inspired subsequent generations of artists. This significant story of engagement, which has never been covered in a book-length survey before, is the subject of Kill for Peace.

Writing for both general and academic audiences, Matthew Israel recounts the major moments in the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement and describes artists’ individual and collective responses to them. He discusses major artists such as Leon Golub, Edward Kienholz, Martha Rosler, Peter Saul, Nancy Spero, and Robert Morris; artists’ groups including the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) and the Artists Protest Committee (APC); and iconic works of collective protest art such as AWC’s Q. And Babies? A. And Babies and APC’s The Artists Tower of Protest. Israel also formulates a typology of antiwar engagement, identifying and naming artists’ approaches to protest. These approaches range from extra-aesthetic actions—advertisements, strikes, walk-outs, and petitions without a visual aspect—to advance memorials, which were war memorials purposefully created before the war’s end that criticized both the war and the form and content of traditional war memorials.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Beginnings of the Vietnam War and the Antiwar Movement
12
Artists and Writers Protest and the Artists Protest Committee
23
3 Creating Antiwar Art
36
4 Angry Arts
68
5 1968
102
AWC Dead Babies Dead American Soldiers
128
7 The Invasion of Cambodia the New York Art Strike and Conceptual Art as Antiwar
147
8 Toward an End
161
Color Section
173
Conclusion
173
Notes
188
Selected Bibliography
227
Index
240
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Matthew Israel is an art historian and is currently Director of The Art Genome Project at Art.sy.

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