Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vietnam The Real War: A Photographic History From The Associated Press & Leo Rubinfien, Beyond the War: Seven Photographs from Southeast Asia, 1984-1987 @ Steven Kasher Gallery

Vernacular pictures do have a shocking way of making history real. Nothing like a line of National Guardsmen firing rifles at Kent State protestors to make you realize how much things have changed. Can’t even process National Guardsman finding a college protest threatening enough to fire upon. For that matter, this entire show is quite a stark contrast to the blood-free domestic coverage of recent American wars. If you can imagine an iconographic picture of the Vietnam War, it is in the show, but is this art? I would for the most part say no, but it is wonderful how Henri Huet and Horst Faas use a celebratory sense of light to transform battlefield scenes into something more contradictory. Which should negate any real claim that pictures are just documents that express something factual.

I enjoy Leo Rubenfin’s pictures, but after seeing a giant collection of very terrible things happening, his landscapes and still-lifes of a post war Vietnam seem downright trivial.

Through November 30th


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