An-My Lê

Artist lecture Tuesday, March 29, 2016 7PM
Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., San Francisco, CA 94107
29 Palms: Captain Folsom, 2003-04

The photographs of An-My Lê investigate the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Her work draws inspiration from her experiences as a refugee of the Vietnam War. Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1960 and settled in the United States in 1975, after fleeing Vietnam with her family during the final year of the war. She juxtaposes the tranquility of natural landscapes with echoes of violence and upheaval, as the landscape transforms into, or has been, a battlefield. The ambiguity in Lê’s work blends the lines between documentary and staged, functioning as observations of the representation and theater of war. The black-and-white images of Viêt Nam explore Lê’s memories of a war-torn countryside with the Vietnamese contemporary landscape. The tranquility of the present is imbued with haunting memories of past conflict. Her photographs explore the fluidity between fact and fiction. In Small Wars, she documents Vietnam War re-enactors in the American South. The reenactments, striving for authenticity, occur in the Appalachian forests of Virginia and North Carolina, rather than in Vietnam, revealing the endeavor. Photographed with a large-format film camera, the images find moments of pause and quiet contemplation amidst the frenetic energy of war games. 29 Palms stemmed from Lê’s denied request to accompany the American military forces in Iraq. She instead documented United States Marines during their training exercises in the Southern California desert before deployment to Iraq. Though clearly a training site, this reconstructed Middle Eastern landscape functions as an ominous reminder of the conflict to come.

Lê holds BAS and MS degrees in Biology from Stanford University and an MFA from Yale University. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in many museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Since 1999, Lê has been a faculty member in the photography department at Bard College.


Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.


Larry Sultan Photography Award


Awoiska van der Molen, #256-17, 2009

Awoiska van der Molen

Fall 2017 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

The work of Awoiska van der Molen (b. 1972, Netherlands) develops from a desire to comprehend the core of the isolated world she photographs. In order to achieve the sense of solitude necessary to gain access to the stoic nature of the landscape, she spends long periods of time isolated in the natural environment. She takes time to experience the landscape and penetrates deep into the essence of the remote, hushed world created in her photographs. She immerses herself in the landscape, moves slowly, returns repeatedly and by doing so makes these unknown places her own. This gradual and solitary working process continues into the darkroom where her pictures are printed by hand—an intimate process—further imparting a unique stillness that emanates from her work.