Born: Mason City, Iowa, 1941 Died: Seattle, Washington, 1994 Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army Military Assistance Command (MACV) Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon Classified-Documents Cage Clerk, 1965-66
From the Artist:
From several letters, 1987, 1989, and 1993:
...Last week I saw the movie Platoon and couldn't breathe for a couple of days; it opened up that damned sadness that I think may never go away. I know now that my main reaction to Vietnam is to see its absolute absurdity. I shake my head in amazement at having emerged unscathed, and that we all are walking around, talking, laughing. When I get really morbid, I think: What if the artists had all died, and we didn't have any of their art or wisdom? But neither I nor they did.
Or maybe we did, and this is some weird purgatory.
...Still working on the same theme of Natural Disorder, which still seems to be how I see things. But I've always been cross-eyed....
I am an absolute believer in history. Art is a record: think of the art germinated from other wars (Mesopotamia to Korea), produced unsolicited, in reaction to the particular skirmish. The art that comes out of Vietnam is unique to that war; it was not produced by war illustrators, but by soldiers (and a nurse or two). We have acted upon that primal aesthetic urge to make visual commentary on an event (Vietnam and aftermath) that profoundly touched our bodies, hearts, spirits, souls—whatever it is that constitutes the Human Thing and causes it to make art.