Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


Views of Vietnam
  • Views of Vietnam
  • 10-Oct-2006 - 30-Dec-2006
  • South Balcony, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Views of Vietnam provides a starting point for reflecting on the complex history of Vietnam through works of art available in the Spencer Museum. The period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam is most fully represented in our collections and therefore makes up most of the exhibition, but also included are several ceramic pieces from around 1600, as well as work made since the conflict. The exhibition is also enhanced by several loans from the Wilcox Collection of the Spencer Research Library.

A group of propaganda watercolors by an artist working for the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) and the North Vietnamese Army provides perhaps the most uncommon view in the exhibition. The watercolors, on long-term loan to the museum, do not show combat scenes, but scenes of preparation for battle, life in the base camp, work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, agricultural work, and possibly a scene of boat people fleeing Vietnam.

The exhibition will also include photographs by Larry Burrows, who provided powerful images of the war to Life magazine; prints by American artists active in the 1960s that reference the war, including Jasper Johns and James Rosenquist; camera work for an article in Esquire magazine featuring senior military staff who opposed the war; and photographs by Han Nguyen, who left Vietnam for the U.S., and Craig Barber, who returned there in the late 1990s to make stunning landscape photographs.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an installation of books about various aspects of the war in Vietnam, with an emphasis on books concerning the arts.