An-My Lê: “29 Palms”

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Episode #136: “I just wanted to approach the idea of war in a more complicated and more challenging way” says artist An-My Lê, whose photographic series and film “29 Palms” (2003-04) explore the training exercises and desert landscape near Joshua Tree National Park as a staging ground for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An-My Lê’s photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war, framing a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness.

An-My Lê is featured in the Season 4 (2007) episode Protest of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes (link opens application), or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.

CREDITS | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: An-My Lê. Video: © 2011, Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.

Contributor
Wesley Miller is the Associate Curator at Art21. Miller co-curates the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series. He is also co-creator of the series New York Close Up.
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