War & Empire: Video & Review

THE VIDEO: The War & Empire Video Documentary is now available for free on Google Video. Combining engaging visual imagery with commentary and interviews, this revealing 15 minute long video presents an overview of War & Empire, the groundbreaking 2008 exhibition at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery. As a participating artist in the show, I guide the viewer through the powerful exhibit - where art and social reality converge. On view in the War & Empire video are artworks from some 40 artists, including Fernando Botero, Sandow Birk, Bella Feldman, Guy Colwell, Eric Drooker, William T. Wiley, Mary Hull Webster, Phyllis Plattner - and yours truly, Mark Vallen.

The video includes brief interviews with exhibit curators Anne Brodzky, DeWitt Cheng, and Art Hazelwood, as well as interviews with participating artists. Commentary on socially engaged art is provided by Jack Rasmussen - the Director and Curator of the American University Museum in Washington, D.C., and Peter Selz - Professor Emeritus of Art History at UC Berkeley and a former curator of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

THE REVIEW: I wrote a review of the War & Empire exhibit for Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF). Titled The Art of Democracy, the illustrated article includes insightful interviews with fellow artists participating in the show - Guy Colwell, Juan Fuentes, and Art Hazelwood. Here is an except from the featured report:

“As an artist long active in creating works with a critical vision, and as one who strives to inject social concerns into contemporary art, I view the ‘War & Empire’ show as a turning point. In 2003, when I created the drawing that hangs in the exhibit, ‘Not Our Children, Not Their Children,‘ few artists and even fewer art institutions could be bothered with art that displayed political themes. Now, with the Wall Street meltdown and the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the possibilities for a new, socially conscious American art movement seem wide open.”

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