Images of war for our times

Visionary art: Museum's timing is uncanny, as is its emotion-provoking content.

October 05, 2001

WHILE the nation girds for war of unknown dimension, the American Visionary Art Museum opens its seventh yearlong major exhibition of intuitive art by untrained artists, on the theme of war and peace. Peace, it turns out, is better.

With an uncanny timing characteristic of this museum at the foot of Federal Hill, "The Art of War and Peace" is open from Friday through next August, touching a chord in the American soul.

It is about all war, real and imagined, certainly about the war that terrorists made on the United States last month and almost certainly about the response to come, as well as other battles, inhumanities and tortures of the human spirit. Also, and to a lesser extent, about their opposite.

Many people will wish to view these artworks to help refine their own approach to a national response to terror. The times cry out for this exhibition.

There is beauty and ugliness, some remarkable skill and talent, and truly disturbing elements, but the unreality and fantasy included make the whole less burdensome and lighter than, say, a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

It is not the most fun show this unique museum ever had, only the most important.

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