los-angeles

Terry Allen

L.A. Louver

Over the past five years, Terry Allen’s “Youth in Asia”—an ongoing series of mixed-media tableaux and installations—has provided a poignant and conceptually complex investigation into the legacy of the Vietnam War and its impact on the American psyche. While this might sound like familiar territory, Allen offers a fresh reading of it, juxtaposing the idealized signification of ”home" with dark symbols of alien cultures dismembered by war. Allen’s oeuvre defies easy analysis because it refuses to be either didactic or apologetic. With its dislocated, stream-of-consciousness combination of narrative text, stuffed animals, Navaho and Vietnamese references, and Disney cartoon characters, the work defies ideological closure.

In certain respects, the artist’s violent fragmentation of language echoes Dada and its similarly absurdist reaction to the horrors of World War I. But Allen seems less

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