Kill for Peace is a history of American artists' protest against the Vietnam War, spanning from 1946 (and the war's origins) through the fall of Saigon in 1975. The book is written for both general and academic audiences and discusses significant paintings, sculptures, performances, actions, installations, posters, short films, and comics by artists such as Leon Golub, Edward Kienholz, Martha Rosler, Peter Saul, Nancy Spero, and Robert Morris, as well as artists’ groups, such as the Art Workers’ Coalition and the Artists Protest Committee.
Kill for Peace was motivated by living through American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, witnessing artists' protests against the war, wondering what the precedents were for such engagement, and questioning what contribution I might make as an art historian to both encourage and inform protest. It is also a response to an art-historical gap. Though the 1960s is one of the most heavily studied areas in art history, there has been little extended study of the relationship between artists and the Vietnam War, and until now, no thorough "survey" of this material has been attempted.
I’m hoping those interested in art history, political art, American studies, or the art of the 1960s find this of interest. Kill for Peace is available online at the usual places as well as at local bookstores. If you're in New York, for example, it will be carried by the Columbia University Bookstore, Saint Mark's Bookshop, the NYU bookstore and Barnes and Noble.
The top image (which serves as the cover and the impetus for the title of the book) is: Carol Summers, Kill for Peace, from Artists and Writers Against the War in Vietnam, 1967. Screenprint with punched holes. Composition: 235⁄16 × 193⁄16 in. (59.2 × 48.7 cm); sheet: 235⁄16 × 193⁄16 in. (59.2 × 48.7 cm). Publisher: Artists and Writers Protest, New York. Printer: unknown. Edition: 100.