Painting of a young soldier in helmet and fatigues in the midst of battle

John / Vincent Valdez (born 1977) / Oil on canvas, 2010-2012 / Collection of the artist

The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now

April 7, 2017 - January 28, 2018
Second floor

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been engaged in multiple wars, varying in intensity, locale, and consequence.  After fifteen years, this warfare has become normalized into our social and cultural landscape; it is ongoing, yet somehow out of sight, invisible.

The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now explores and assesses the human costs of ongoing wars through portraiture. The exhibition title is drawn from John Keegan’s classic military history, which reorients our view of war from questions of strategy and tactics to its personal and individual toll. Featuring fifty-six works by six artists, the exhibition includes photographs by Ashley Gilbertson, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, and Stacy Pearsall; site-specific installation of drawings by Emily Prince; and paintings, sculpture, and time-based media by Vincent Valdez.

With this poignant exhibition, the National Portrait Gallery will put a face on recent wars through the work of artists who have pictured the experience of common soldiers. The Face of Battle will also bring to public attention the latest formal developments in the field of portraiture as practiced by a diverse and talented group of artists. The exhibition will place the focus on the identity and experiences of ordinary soldiers who fought and continue to fight for our nation.

The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now is currently available for tour. For more information about bringing this show to your institution, please contact Marlene Harrison, Traveling Exhibitions Specialist, at 202-633-8287 or HarrisonMR@si.edu.  An exhibition prospectus may be downloaded below.  All participation fees are for domestic tours.  International venues would incur additional costs.

Tour Itinerary

Soldier with dog

Early March 2018 to early June 2018
OPEN

Mid-July 2018 to mid-October 2018
OPEN

Mid-November 2018 to mid-February 2019
OPEN

 

Exhibition Specifications

Content
• 56 works including paintings, sculpture, photographs, site-specific installation of drawings, time-based media art, and ephemera
• Digital files for all exhibition texts, title graphic design, organizer and sponsor credit, and logo(s)
• Sample ideas of Portrait Gallery educational programming

Support Services
• Installation and display guidelines
• One Portrait Gallery courier to oversee unpacking/packing and installation/ deinstallation
• Press kit, including press release example, and press images with captions and credits
• Publication: Bilingual exhibition brochure (25 complimentary copies); will provide printready files for venues to insert local details.

Space Required
Approximately 4,000 square feet

Security and Special Requirements
• High security
• 7 foot-candles required
• 70°F ±2; RH 50% ±5%

Availability
Limited to 3 venues, March 2018 to February 2019 (see Tour Itinerary)

Participation Fee
See prospectus

Shipping
One-way shipping via Portrait Gallery-approved
professional fine art shipper with dual driver, air-ride transit

View the Prospectus

Face of Battle document

View the list of portraits:

Face of Battle List

 


 Face of Battle soldier's bedroom.jpg

Images
Dynamic Duo / Stacy L. Pearsall (born 1980) / Aluminum print, 2007 / Courtesy of the artist
Brandon Craig / Ashley Gilbertson (born 1978) / Pigment print, 2008 / Collection of the artist
  • Young soldier reading on a cot

    The Reader / Stacy L. Pearsall (born 1980) / Aluminum print, 2007 / Courtesy of the artist

  • Young woman with her male comrades in a bunker

    One of the Boys / Stacy L. Pearsall (born 1980) / Aluminum print, 2007 / Courtesy of the artist

  • Black and white photo of a soldier's small home

    Home / Vincent Valdez (born 1977) / DVD, 9 minutes, color / Time-based media (9 min), 2012 / Collection of the artist

  • Photo of a folded flag in an enclosed case

    Black Flag / Vincent Valdez (born 1977) / Lithographic crayon on folded canvas, in a glass box, 2012 / Elisabeth and Alex Tynberg, Austin, TX

  • Image of a soldier's bedroom back home

    Karina Lau / Ashley Gilbertson (born 1978) / Pigment print, 2009 / Collection of the artist

  • Young soldier asleep on a cot

    Afghanistan, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, July 2008. Specialist Steve Kim. Sleeping Soldier / Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) / Pigmented inkjet print, July 2008 (printed 2016) / Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust

  • A group of young, shirtless men digging up dirt for sandbags

    Afghanistan, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, June 2008. “Man Eden” Men from the 2nd Platoon dig earth for sandbags / Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) / Pigmented inkjet print, June 2008 (printed 2016) / Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust

  • A soldier standing on a ridge in silhouette near a single tree

    Afghanistan, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, 2008. On Patrol. / Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) / Pigmented inkjet print, 2008 (printed 2016) / Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust