The Art to End All Wars

The Vietnam War and the Civil War don't seem to share any connection other than the obvious "war" element. The former is a painful flashpoint in recent American history, while the latter is fetishized through books, films and extremely detail-oriented historical reenactors. But the war in Vietnam was also a civil war that divided a country into North and South, splitting families along political and ideological points of view — and it did the same here in America, as well. Artist Bruce Yonemoto exposes and questions our very different reactions to these historical eras in his new exhibition of two photography series, Currents 104: Bruce Yonemoto. Posing Southeast Asians in the uniforms of the Union and Confederate armies for his formal portraits, Yonemoto cleaves the romanticism from the earlier war and also removes some of the "us-versus-them" stigma that still clings to images of the Vietnam era. The resulting shift in point of view strips the old feelings and dogma away from both wars, allowing us to consider each war without the burden of history. Currents 104: Bruce Yonemoto is on display in gallery 301 and 338 of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or Yonemoto's work remains on display through Sunday, July 11, and the museum is open every day except Monday. Admission is free.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 9. Continues through July 11, 2010
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