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“The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now” Opens April 7

National Portrait Gallery Presents Exhibition Exploring Impacts of Modern Warfare

February 16, 2017

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The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery presents “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now,” an exhibition focused on the psychological impact and consequences of modern warfare on those who serve. The exhibition will be on view April 7 through Jan. 28, 2018. The exhibition will include more than 50 objects, including paintings, photographs, drawings and single-channel video that convey the reality of the modern soldier within the context of a culture that has, in many ways, normalized warfare. The press preview will be held April 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

“In ‘The Face of Battle,’ the distant experience of combat is brought closer through art, serving as a poignant reminder that defending American interests overseas has a lasting effects on families and communities,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Following a long tradition of combat art, the exhibition focuses on the brave soldiers who uphold our freedoms through personal sacrifice.”

The exhibition is a continuation of the “Portraiture Now” series, devoted to bringing visibility to formal developments in the field of portraiture. Six featured artists offer an emotional and psychological perspective of battle and its repercussions: Ashley Gilbertson, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, Stacy Pearsall, Emily Prince and Vincent Valdez. Through portraits of deployed soldiers in combat and off duty and representations of empty bedrooms and of lives lost, these artists forge a stronger connection to the personal ramifications of war and reveal deeper perspectives on the lives affected.

The curators for this exhibition are Senior Historian and Director of Scholarly Programs David C. Ward; Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Latino Art and History Taína Caragol; Curator of Painting and Sculpture Dorothy Moss; and Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings and Media Arts Asma Naeem.

This exhibition is sponsored by Altria Group and made possible through the support of its leadership committee: Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. Podell, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Uhler, The Murrell Foundation and Ronnyjane Goldsmith. Additional support received from the Rebecca Houser Westcott Fund for Portraiture Now and the American Portrait Gala Endowment.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: npg.si.edu. Connect with the museum at Facebook; Instagram; blog; Twitter and YouTube.

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SI-93-2017

Female soldier

Media only 
Marielba Alvarez
(202) 633-2585 
alvarezma@si.edu

Evanne Allen    
(704) 770-1030 
allene@si.edu 

 

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: Apple Pie & Baseball

Soldier swinging baseball bat

Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

Apple Pie & Baseball
by Stacy L. Pearsall
Aluminum print
2007
Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: John

Painting of soldier

Courtesy of the artist and David Shelton Gallery, © Vincent Valdez

John
by Vincent Valdez
Oil on canvas 2010-2012
Courtesy of the artist and David Shelton Gallery, © Vincent Valdez
 

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: Medic

Photo courtesy Louie Palu, ©Louie Palu

Canadian Medic Mcpl. Marie Gionet age 31, after a patrol, Forward Operating Base, Sperwan Ghar, Panjwa’i District Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Fighting Season series.
by Louie Palu
Pigment print
2009
Photo courtesy Louie Palu, ©Louie Palu

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: One of the Boys

Group of exhausted soldiers

Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

One of the Boys
by Stacy L. Pearsall
Aluminum print
2007
Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: Sleeping Soldier

Man asleep on cot

Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust, © Tim Hetherington

Sleeping Soldier
by Tim Hetherington
Pigmented inkjet print
July 2008 (printed 2016)
Tim Hetherington, courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust, © Tim Hetherington
 

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: The Reader

soldier reading while lying on cot

Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

The Reader
by Stacy L. Pearsall
Aluminum print
2007
Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

Related photos: 

Faces of Battle: Up and Down, Not Across

soldier brushing his teeth

Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall

Up and Down, Not Across
by Stacy L. Pearsall
Aluminum print
2007
Courtesy of the artist, © Stacy L. Pearsall



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