Marine Air Art from WWII to Today

“Fly Marines! The Centennial of Marine Corps Aviation: 1912-2012” is the name of a new exhibit that opened on January 14 at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum . The exhibit is made up of 91 works of art—mostly depicting Marine Corps aviation subjects— selected from the Marine Corps Art Program, which began in 1942 during World War II to “keep Americans informed about what ‘their Marines’ were doing at home and overseas.”

Included in the Smithsonian exhibit are several works from the Vietnam War, such as a still life of a bullet-riddled helicopter pilot’s seat and a painting by LCPL James Butcher of a Marine sitting alone waiting for a flight at the air terminal at Phu Bai in 1967.

The entire Marine Corps art collection is made up of  more than 8, 000 works. It is housed at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia, and  worked with the Air and Space Museum to produce the exhibition.

“If you come here today looking for pretty airplane pictures, you are going to be hard pressed to find but a couple of those, ” Lin Ezell, the director of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, told The Washington Post . “The show is a celebration not about the form of the aircraft itself, but the function of aircraft in war, and that always has to do with people.”

This exhibit will be on display for a year. For info on the museum’s hours of operation, go to Air and Space’s web site .


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