The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now documents the first attempts by artists to assess the human costs of modern war through portraiture. It has been more than 15 years since 9/11 and warfare has become near-normalized into the social and cultural landscape, ongoing yet somehow out of sight, invisible. The Face of Battle brings forward the individual faces of active duty soldiers and those who have served, allowing the observer to connect with the soldiers’ reality. The six featured artists— Ashley Gilbertson, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, Stacy Pearsall, Emily Prince, and Vincent Valdez—offer an emotional and psychological perspective of battle and its consequences through documentary and subjective portraiture with more than 50 objects in all media.
The Face of Battle is part of the Portrait Gallery’s “Portraiture Now” series, which brings public attention to the latest formal developments in the field of portraiture. The curators for this exhibition are Senior Historian and Director of Scholarly Programs David C. Ward, Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Latino Art and History Taína Caragol, Curator of Painting and Sculpture Dorothy Moss and Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Media Arts Asma Naeem.