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American art of the Vietnam Era

Claire, Monica, Becky, Alex, Annie, and Cori


A majority of the art featured falls under Anti-Vietnam War sentiment and general unsupportive feelings toward the government of the United States. The anti-art displayed suggests ethical and political corruption on behalf of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The basis of
anti-Vietnam War sentiment was often associated with communists. Pro-war art, on the other hand, encourages the American public to buy war bonds to financially support the government’s decision. In this contrasting perspective, the United States bears a certain responsibility as a world power to help reconstruct foreign governments. Conversely, anti-Vietnam War involvement expressed by artists exalts the unnecessary brutality of war and that the people of South Vietnam should be free to choose their own form of government. Protesters accused the U.S. government of taking on imperialist
tendencies in its involvement with South Vietnam. Anti-war sentiment among the American public basically states that American citizens should have more influence in government policy. Non-veterans would occasionally re-create their portrayal of the Vietnam War through art (includes photography, painting, sketches) and depict the American soldiers as cold and heartless., an extension of the government’s imperialist will. Student activists in demonstrations such as in Davidson College of 1965, students became gradually more concerned as the draft increased. Lack of student support of the war showed certain disapproval on behalf of America’s youth toward its government. However, art completed by war veterans of Vietnam have very different perspectives. In reality, most of the troops stationed hoped for some immediate resolution in such a desolate situation. The war veterans have re-created the tragedy of war, through photographs and other depictions of fallen comrades and Vietnamese civilians. Equally powerful are the paintings by Vietnamese village children, whose art shows the epitome of innocence in the midst of war. The children, in some instances, depict the American soldiers as imminent death to their people. Hippies of the Vietnam Era , towards the latter part of the 1960’s, often rejoiced in song lyrics that rejected militarism. In some examples of hippie photography, the artists protested against the war being waged and promoted the progress of peaceful civil rights
movement. (Block 1)

Pictures above courtesy of:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v407/n6805/images/407673ba.0.jpg (block1)
http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/memarkprowar.jpg. (block 8)

Works Consulted (Art)