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Goya: The Disasters of War 

When: Feb. 28-June 8 2014
Two exhibits opening today at the Frist Center pose the same question from different sides of the 20th century: What does war really look like? In the 81 aquatint etchings that make up The Disasters of War — already the subject of pre-show controversy over whether the artwork can legitimately be credited to the artist, after posthumous changes made to the etching plates — Francisco de Goya chronicles the horrors of the Peninsular War of 1808-14 between Spain and France under Napolean Bonaparte. In typical Goya fashion, the realistic (e.g., etchings of soldiers in combat and men facing firing squads) is interspersed with fantastic imaginings (e.g., war represented as a bat-winged gremlin). Also opening today is Steve Mumford’s War Journals, a straight-ahead title for an intriguingly original collection. Mumford has traveled to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, to document the experiences of American troops, civilians caught in the conflict, and prisoners. Mumford’s drawings have been published by comics journal Drawn & Quarterly, and he is represented by Postmasters Gallery in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood.
— Laura Hutson

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