The Politics of Artists in War Zones: Art in Conflict

Kit Messham-Muir, Uroš Cvoro, Monika Lukowska-Appel     Recommended by    

What exactly is contemporary war art in the West today? This book considers the place of contemporary war art in the 2020s, a whole generation after 9/11 and long past the ‘War on Terror’.

Exploring the role contemporary art plays within conversations around war and imperialism, the book brings together chapters from international contemporary artists, theorists and curators, alongside the voices of contemporary war artists through original edited interviews.

It addresses newly emerged contexts in which war is found- not only sites of contemporary conflicts such as Ukraine, Yemen and Syria, but everywhere in western culture, from social media to ‘culture’ wars. With interviews from official war artists working in the UK, the US, and Australia, such as eX de Medici (Australia) and David Cotterrell (UK), as well as those working in post-colonial contexts, such as Baptist Coelho (India), the editors reflect on contemporary processes of memorialisation and the impact of British colonisation in Australia, India and its relation to historical conflicts. It focuses on three overlapping themes- firstly, the role of memory and amnesia in colonial contexts; secondly, the complex role of ‘official’ war art; and thirdly, questions of testimony and knowing in relation to alleged war crimes, torture and genocide.

Richly illustrated, and featuring three substantial interview chapters, The Politics of Artists in War Zones is a hands-on exploration of the complexities and challenges faced by war artists that contextualises the tensions between the contemporary art world and the portrayal of war. It is essential reading for researchers of fine art, curatorial studies, museum studies, conflict studies and photojournalism.

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