Magazine article USA TODAY

Provocative Images from the Pain of War

Magazine article USA TODAY

Provocative Images from the Pain of War

Article excerpt

"The Pain of War," an exhibition of some 60 prints, photographs, and videos that examine the theme of suffering associated with armed conflict, provokes viewers to ask: Why are we so captivated by images of pain and suffering? Does their incessant presence in our media-saturated world inure us to their awfulness? How do we respond emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and politically? What issues of truth, sensationalism, exploitation, aesthetics, history, and memory do such images raise?

"The Pain of War" addresses issues confronted by Susan Sontag's celebrated meditation, Regarding the Pain of Others, in which she muses, "One can feel obliged to look at photographs that record great cruelties and crimes. One should feel obliged to think about what it means to look at them, about the capacity to actually assimilate what they show."

The exhibition presents images from the 17th century to the present, documenting atrocities from the Thirty Years War, Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, Vietnam War, Holocaust, and World Wars I and II, as well as more recent events, such as Sept. …

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