“The Vietnam Experience”

Arsenal Gallery Annex

“The Vietnam Experience,” an exhibit of work by Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese emigres, closed on December 6, 1981. I wanted to write something about it back then, but couldn’t. Part of the problem was that the show really had very little to do with art. More than that, I felt stuck for something to say that would make sense of my totally emotional response to it. Well, time has passed and I’m still back where I was in December except that I’m convinced of the need to honor the importance of the effort and the potency of the accomplishment.

Now as then, I am hard put to single out one piece of work in the show that, in and of itself, demonstrated an esthetically competitive level of artistic achievement. By and large, the paintings and prints were competent examples of commercial illustration; the sculpture was academic and uninventive, and the photographs were probably a lot less

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