Last updated on November 9th, 2018 at 05:24 pm
Today, nearly a century after it ended, World War I (1914–1918) remains a stark example of how far modern civilization can descend into violence. The United States, led by President Woodrow Wilson, entered the war in April 1917 and helped bring the conflict to an end in November 1918. The war set into motion political and cultural changes still with us today.
The conflict’s intensity and size led its participants and observers to seek a new visual language to describe it. American artists developed imagery that promoted US intervention and made daring anti-war cartoons. Some worked as official war artists embedded with troops. Others designed camouflage or took surveillance photographs. On the home front, some were vocal about the war and exhibited ambitious works of art in response to events, while others dealt with wartime anxieties in personal ways. After the conflict, many artists reflected on the significance of their war experience or pondered the war’s reverberating effects.
World War I and American Art at Frist Center for the Visual Arts features more than 70 artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, and John Singer Sargent. World War I and the Great Migration at the Fisk University Galleries examines how the Great War spurred the relocating of 6 million African-Americans from the rural South to the urban centers of the industrial North between 1916 and 1970, with work from the Harlem Renaissance and the Chicago Renaissance, featuring Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Albert E. Smith and others. The Special Collections Department in the Franklin Library at Fisk presents Fisk University and the Student Army Training Corps, World War I, 1917-1918.
“America Responds: A Collaborative Tour” offers engaging guided tours with additional perspective on the artists who worked against the backdrop of the war and global changes to society at both the Frist and Fisk Galleries. Join Frist Center curator of interpretation Ginny Soenksen for a tour of World War I and American Art Thursday, October 26, at 12 noon at the Frist Center, and the next day Nikoo Paydar, assistant curator, Fisk University Galleries for a tour of Origins of Influence Part II: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Modern Art and World War I and the Great Migration Friday, October 27, beginning at the Carl Van Vechten Gallery at 12 noon, and then at the Aaron Douglas Gallery in the nearby Fisk Library.
Join Frist Center curator Trinita Kennedy for a Curator’s Tour Thursday, November 2 at 12:00 Noon exploring how a wide range of American artists responded, how artists represented airplanes, barbed wire, poisonous gas, submarines, tanks, and other characteristic weapons of the conflict, and social issues, such as the wartime roles taken on by women and the participation of African Americans on the battlefield.
Join Richard Casper for a Free Lecture on Saturday, November 18 at 11:00 am in the Frist Center Auditorium. Casper is a United States Marine Corps veteran and the co-founder and program director of CreatiVets, a nonprofit organization that creates a safe, communal environment for veterans to make art and music. His acclaimed lecture “Warrior Brain to Artist Brain” explores his own journey to recovery. During a tour of duty in Iraq, Casper was hit in four separate IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosions resulting in traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago credits art with helping him reclaim his life and giving it purpose. Through CreatiVets, he talks and teaches to veterans across the country, championing art and music as inspirational healing tools.