National Vietnam or Veterans Art Museum or Both

Perhaps you have heard of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. It has closed, but do not fret, the museum only dropped Vietnam in 2010 to incorporate art from all of America’s Wars.  As we all know art is an expressive form of communication between our individual thoughts and feelings depicting what words can not convey.  That account can be witnessed with huge following for the Art Institute on Facebook with the largest following of all of Chicago’s museums. Art is important. Therefore, what better way for veterans to express themselves than through art. Now The National Veterans Art Museum down in the South Loop on Indiana Avenue is in need of Chicago’s help.

Due to the economy and other factors the museum will close without a three million dollar from donation to move. The museum is housed in the a Chicago Park District building, once three floors with an excellent art installation of dog tags; the museum has been regulated to the temporary exhibit space on the third floor while the park district has built a play area for children  on the first floor. A museum with so much potential to fuel art in new ways is struggling to breath. Hopefully, it does not become fated to close like McCormick Freedom Museum in 2009. The small museums of Chicago are niche markets, but represent the need for more in Chicago than just the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. It is the small museums who push the limits of theory and practice in museumology of today.

Practicing this theory the museum’s current exhibit Intrusive Thoughts displays this very idea. The works of the exhibit created by the veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror are exactly what the exhibit title describes as unwelcome, unpleasant things not to be discussed such as homosexuality and death. Two most haunting of the creations are by Ash Kyrie in a series of boxes, pictures, and pin holes the soldier related news media photographs of major newspapers to the actual photographs in the minds of the soldiers. The soldier uses three different photographs and juxtaposes each picture on the other creating a 3-D effect of war. See below the pictures in the gallery.

The other is Angel in the Desert by Marcsu Eriksen. It is the first Iraqi Soldier he saw in the Gulf War. The soldier had been blown from the jeep and before dying the waved his arms in the sands just as children do in the snow. Seeing an image of person’s lifeless body having been blown apart is not a mind’s photograph a soldier is likely to forget.

The art museum refuses to stop and give in to its troubles; with Veterans Day approaching the museum will open a new exhibit entitled Radical Vulnerablity  as part of the In War series featuring seven artists from the current war on Terror. Coinciding with the exhibit, a workshop for men and women veterans who will be creating a Fatigues Clothesline with the artist’s help, Regina Vasquez will be on display that day as well.  The museum will be free that day with a special curator and artist talks between 5:30 and 6:30 along with light refreshments from 5 to 8 p.m. in the evening.

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