Vietnam War Combat Art

There’s an excellent essay by the artist Jim Pollock (above ) on the U.S. Army’s Vietnam Combat Art Program in the current issue of War, Literature and The Arts , the first-rate literary journal published by the Department of English and Fine Arts at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Pollock , who was drafted into the Army and wound up in the soldier art program in 1967, tells the story in the first person of the Army’s 1966-70 effort that sent teams of soldier-artists into Vietnam to record their experiences. A good percentage of those experiences included being directly exposed to combat.

All of the work of these soldier artists-studies, sketches, and finished art-was put into the permanent U. S. Army Art Collection, which is maintained by the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. “From time to time the Army sponsors exhibits from their collection, ” Pollock notes in the article. “One
piece, by Vietnam Combat Artist Gary Porter (CAT II), was on loan to the Pentagon when it was destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.”

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