Monday, January 26, 2015

San Antonio McNay exhibition offers snapshot of World War II




Alfred Eisenstaedt, V-J Day in Times Square, New York, Aug. 14, 1945. ©Time Inc. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe, New Mexico A jubilant Amererican sailor clutching a white-uniformed nurse in a back-bending, passionate kiss as he vents his joy while thousands jam the Times Square area to celebrate the long awaited victory over Japan.

Monroe Gallery of Photography is very proud to have contributed numerous photographs from its collection to this exhibit.


Via The San Antonio Express News

From iconic images such as Joe Rosenthal’s U.S. Marines raising the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, to intimate shots from the home front, “World War II in Photographs: Looking Back” offers a slice of life from “the good war” — which ended 70 years ago this year — chronicling both its triumphs and horrors.

The exhibition of more than 40 prints — as well as video and memorabilia — opens Tuesday at the McNay Art Museum and continues through May 10. There are sections on the European and Asian theaters, the home front, the Monuments Men who rescued stolen art from the Nazis, and the Tuskegee airmen.

“It’s an interesting mix,” said McNay director William Chiego, who organized the show from a wide variety of sources, including the Fort Sam Houston Museum and the Library of Congress. “We intentionally interspersed these iconic images with lesser known works to show all sides of the war. We show leaders, but also the ordinary soldiers, sailors, Marines and civilians.”

The exhibition not only commemorates the 70th anniversary and pays tribute to San Antonio’s rich military history, but also honors museum founder Marion Koogler McNay, who was a strong supporter of the war effort at home.
 
McNay’s first husband Don McNay died in the World War I flu pandemic of 1918, which had a lasting effect on her, Chiego said.

“She really cared about servicemen in San Antonio,” Chiego said. “She even provided housing for servicemen here on the grounds and bought houses around town and made them available to servicemen. She knew how important it was to have a place to live and have family nearby.”

“World War II in Photographs: Looking Back” features the work of eminent names such as Margaret Bourke-White (Buchenwald prisoners), Alfred Eisenstaedt (the kiss in Times Square) and Carl Mydans, who captured two of the war’s most timeless moments: MacArthur returning to the Philippines and the Japanese surrender on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

And then of course there’s the Rosenthal photo, probably the most beloved image of the war.

“I give lectures on history painting — French and American — and I often end with Rosenthal’s famous image as a 20th-century equivalent of history painting,” Chiego said.

But the exhibition also includes intimate moments such as Toni Frissell’s heartrending shot of a small abandoned boy holding a stuffed animal amidst the destruction of the London blitz.

“It’s important to show how much a photograph is able to document the war and how it relates to the history of photojournalism,” Chiego said. “For San Antonio it’s an important show, and I’m hoping we can get some veterans or children of veterans in here who can tell us more about some of these images. And I hope we can attract a younger audience as well, because I fear they don’t know these images at all.”

sbennett@express-news.net

More Information
“World War II in Photographs: Looking Back”
What: An exhibition of more than 40 WWII photographs ranging from iconic images such as Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day Times Square kiss to intimate images from the home front.
When: Runs through May 10.
Where: McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels
Museum admission: $5 to $10. www.mcnayart.org, 210-824-5368.