New York

Sister Mary Corita


The cover of Newsweek of April 12, 1965, shows a Vietnamese man, wearing only a pair of shorts, being pushed through a field by a helmeted American soldier. “Profile of the Viet Cong,” the caption reads. The man looks angry and desperate; the soldier’s face is turned away. The picture is included in news of the week, a 1969 serigraph by Sister Mary Corita, where it is washed in blood red. The poster’s lower third is tinted mint green, the contrasting colors buzzing urgently. At right in this green section, a Life magazine cover shows soldiers supporting a wounded comrade. In the center is stamped the infamous diagram of bodies wedged into a slave ship; pointing upward, the deck plan with its rounded prow looks like a bomb or a bullet. At left is a passage from Walt Whitman: “I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs / Hell and despair are upon me.”

Frances Elizabeth Kent (

to keep reading

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

Not registered for Register here.

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

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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