Harrell Fletcher recently wrapped up his residency at Artpace and his latest project, The American War, is currently on view there. While one can typically find subtle jabs at the politics of the art world in Fletcher's work, this series confronts a more overt political topic, war. The American War appropriates documents detailing the American War (better known as the Vietnam War to Americans) from the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Bi-lingual captions detail horrifying photographs depicting American atrocities against civilians, chemical warfare, torture and other sickeningly explicit scenes from the war. It's a version of history that's rarely seen, and one can't help but draw correlations with the United States' current involvement in Iraq. By re-photographing these panels, Fletcher not only brings these documents to an American audience, but maintains a loose, snapshot-like quality that emphasizes their context within an institutional setting.
The American War will travel to Solvent Space (Richmond, VA), White Columns and MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 2006. A catalog will also be available in the spring of 2006.
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