san-francisco

An-My Lê

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Tucked between an installation of greatest hits from SF MoMA’s permanent collection and a show of Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico’s images of Silicon Valley, An-My Lê’s exhibition “Small Wars” is easy to miss. The exhibition, which consists of forty-seven large-format photographs of men playing war, includes two bodies of work about conflicts that are, in the American consciousness, anything but diminutive: The series “Small Wars,” 1999–2002, depicts a reenactment of Vietnam War battles in the forests of Virginia, and “29 Palms,” 2003– , records military exercises at Twenty-nine Palms (the largest Marine Corps base in the United States) in preparation for tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The works may be timely in subject matter, but they are anachronistic in technique: Lê uses a five-by-seven-inch view camera that requires shots to be rigorously composed (indeed, Lê traveled

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.