University of Westminster
Monica Bohm-Duchen will talk about her new book, Art and the Second World War, which is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive and detailed international overview of the complex and often disturbing relationship between war and the fine arts during this crucial period of modern history. With ample illustrations, her talk will examine the art produced in reaction to the Spanish Civil War (often viewed as 'the first battle of World War 2'), and then looks at painting, sculpture, prints, and drawing in each of the major combatant nations, including Japan and China. It will also place wartime art within its broader cultural, political, and military contexts while never losing sight of the power and significance of the individual image and the individual artist.
Her analysis will range from iconic paintings such as Picasso’s Guernica to unfamiliar works by little-known artists. She will re-instate war art by major artists as an integral part of their oeuvres and examine neglected topics such as the art produced in the Japanese-American and British internment camps, by victims of the Holocaust, and in response to the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945. In so doing, Bohm-Duchen will address a host of fundamental issues, including the relationship between art and propaganda and between art and atrocity, and the role of gender, religion, and censorship, both external and internal.
Monica Bohm-Duchen is an independent writer, lecturer, and curator. Based in London, she has worked for such leading institutions as the Tate, the National Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts. Her many books include After Auschwitz: Responses to the Holocaust in Contemporary Art. She teaches a course on art and war at Birkbeck, University of London, and at New York University in London.