Laughing at the President

As the US presidential inauguration approaches, provoking revulsion and celebration in various quarters, an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s New York gallery is reminding visitors of a Cold War precedent for the current political turmoil. Philip Guston: Laughter in the Dark, Drawings from 1971 & 1975 is devoted to the American artist’s satirical images of Richard Nixon, whose controversial presidency was brought to a premature end … Continue reading Laughing at the President

Painting the Tet Offensive

The Tet Offensive was a defining moment in the Vietnam War. The series of surprise attacks were launched by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army against South Vietnam and their allies on 30 January 1968. During one of the largest military campaigns of the war, more than 80,000 soldiers attacked targets in over 100 towns and cities across Vietnam. Although the operation eventually … Continue reading Painting the Tet Offensive

Exhibition of the Month: Involuntary Memories

Former US President and devoted Cold Warrior Richard Nixon is the inspiration behind a current exhibition in his home town of Yorba Linda, California. Involuntary Memories is a collection of large-scale pen and ink drawings by American artist Deborah Aschheim, woven together with text drawn from a series of oral interviews. Deborah Aschheim conducted the interviews and produced the illustrations during a 7-month residency at … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Involuntary Memories

Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness

The sensational trial of the Chicago Seven, which lasted almost a year from 1969 to 1970, became a focal point for campaigns against American involvement in the Vietnam War. The seven defendants were charged with conspiracy to incite violence and riots relating to the countercultural protests that took place outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention from 26 to 29 August. For five days and nights, … Continue reading Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness

What & Where: Death of Rubén Salazar

What: Death of Rubén Salazar, oil painting by Frank Romero, 1986 Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC The killing of Los Angeles Times journalist Rubén Salazar on 29 August 1970 highlighted the impact that Cold War politics had on all sections of American society. On the day of his death, Salazar was reporting on a march organised by the Chicano Moratorium, a group protesting … Continue reading What & Where: Death of Rubén Salazar

The United States Air Force Art Collection

ESPIONART has previously reported on the art collections of some unlikely American institutions, including the NASA Art Program, the Navy Art Collection and the DIA Military Art Collection. Another to add to that list is the United States Air Force Art Collection, which was created in 1950, just as the Cold War was beginning to heat up. Soon afterwards the USAF Art Program was also founded, … Continue reading The United States Air Force Art Collection

Featured Artist: Alexander Calder

Perhaps the most celebrated American sculptor of the 20th century, Alexander Calder is especially well-known for his abstract and seemingly innocuous mobiles. These would become a common feature in official American exhibitions at world fairs and international art festivals during the 1950s – including at the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow. In this context they were presented as examples of ‘free’ art produced within a … Continue reading Featured Artist: Alexander Calder