This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features the new Museum of Fine Arts Houston exhibition “War Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath.” Anne Wilkes Tucker, the show’s co-curator (along with MFAH’s Will Michaels and Natalie Zelt) joins me to discuss the exhibition and the related 600-page book from the MFAH and the Yale University Press.
The show, which opens this weekend and runs through February 3, includes almost 500 objects, images by more than 280 photographers on six continents, all of it covering 165 years of war. The exhibition and catalogue are presented thematically, with sections on war-related topics such as recruitment, training, daily routine, patrol, the wait, the fight itself, leisure time and more.
Tucker and I discuss:
- The curators’ willingness to present an unvarnished, occasionally gruesome view of war;
- The difference between vernacular photographs of war and artists’ take on war;
- Why the show includes an entire section on Iwo Jima; and
- What images in the show are destined to become iconic war pictures.
During our conversation I reference two articles that Los Angeles Times photojournalist Luis Sinco wrote about his famous photograph of Marine James Blake Miller. You can access those stories here.
On the second segment I talk with Sarah Oppenheimer, a New York-based artist whose architectural interventions challenge our perception of space. Next week the Baltimore Museum of Art will re-open its remodeled contemporary wing. As part of the re-opening the museum will unveil two commissioned works by Oppenheimer that will be on view permanently at the museum. Photographs of the installations were unavailable as of show-time. When they become available I’ll add them here and feature them via social media, especially on our new Facebook page.
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The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license. For images of the works discussed on this week’s show, click through to the jump.
Howard G. Castleberry, Father Buries Daughter, September 1992. From the series “Somalia: A Nation at the Abyss.” Collection of the MFA Houston. Lewis Hine, Soldier Thrown in Air, Trenton, New Jersey, 1917. Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Luis Sinco, Marlboro Marine, November 8, 2004. Collection of the MFA Houston. Herbert Baldwin, Charles Bean, France, ca. 1916-17. Collection of the Australian War Memorial. Roger Fenton, The Artist’s Van, Crimea, Russia, ca. 1855. Collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography, London.
Unknown photographer, presumed German. Self-portrait in car wing mirror, 1938-45. Archive of Modern Conflict. Mikhail Trakhman, Partisans from the Voroshilov unit mine the bridge, Belorussia / Lithuania, December 1943. The Russian Archives of Documentary Films and Photographs. Tim Hetherington, Untitled, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2008. Collection of the MFA Houston. Unknown Japanese photographer, War in Hawaiian Water. Japanese Torpedoes Attack Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Collection of the MFA Houston. George N. Barnard, Scene of General McPherson’s Death, Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, 1866. Collection of the MFA Houston. T.E. Lawrence, [A Tulip bomb explodes on the railway Hejaz Railway, near Deraa, Hejaz, Ottoman Empire], 1918. Collection of the MFA Houston. Made by Liberty Playing Card Company Iraqi Most Wanted Playing Cards, c. 2003. Edward Steichen, Enlisted Men Relax on the Flight Deck of the USS Lexington, November 1943. Collection of the MFA Houston. Bob Campbell, USMC, American, 1910–1968, Flag Raising at Iwo Jima — Installing Large Flag on Mt. Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Collection of the MFA Houston. Joe Rosenthal, Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. Collection of the MFA Houston. Sergeant Bill Genaust, USMC, Flag Raising atop Mount Suribachi, February 23, 1945. Collection of the MFA Houston. Yuri Kozyrev, A journalist climbs out of the hole where toppled dictator Saddam Hussein was captured in Ad Dawr. Iraq’s defeated leader raised his arms out of his ‘rat hole’ and said he was Saddam Hussein and that he wanted to negotiate, Iraq, December 15, 2003. Simon Norfolk, Omaha Beach, 2004. Collection of the MFA Houston. Simon Norfolk, Utah Beach, 2004. Collection of the MFA Houston.