Created by artist Monica Haller, the Veterans Book Project (2009 – 2012) consists of 50 books about recent American-led wars that were authored by a veteran, a veteran’s family member, or an Iraqi or Afghan civilian and refugee. Displayed as a reading room, visitors can browse, read, and reflect on first-hand accounts of war.
A library of 50 books authored collaboratively by visual artist Monica Haller and individuals who experienced the recent American-led wars will be featured in an exhibition at the William Paterson University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts on campus from September 11 through December 13, 2017. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on September 17 and 24, October 8 and 15, November 5 and 12, and December 3 from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, September 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.
In the Veterans Book Project (2009-2015), artist Monica Haller collaborates with people affected by recent American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom are veterans, their family members, or citizens and refugees from places of war, to create an archive of images and memories to share their stories. One book, for example, is by the mother of a soldier, another is by a brother whose sibling was killed in combat, and several other books were created by Iraqis, including a medical student, a journalist, and a teenager who recently arrived in the United States. Gallery visitors will have the opportunity to spend time in the reading room and peruse the various accounts.
The completed digital manuscripts are published through lulu.com. Available as a free download or as a published, softbound book, each is a contained and tactile “object for deployment,” meant to be “deployed” to new audiences: family, friends, the art community, and the general public. In their printed format, the books provide a place or “container” that slows down and materializes the great quantity of ephemeral image files that live on veterans’ hard drives and in their heads. Each book re-deploys visceral images with the aim of rearticulating and refashioning memories, and stands both independent of and in concert with the larger collection.
Monica Haller works on long-term collaborations with individuals and small groups, often using photography, video, and writing. Her artistic practice is rooted in social justice concerns and attempts to mobilize information by amplifying the materials and technologies that her collaborators have turned to along the way. Drawing from the experiences of the individuals and communities with whom she works, Haller reactivates their personal histories, and in so doing, hopes to provoke critical dialogue around them and their larger social contexts. Haller earned a BA in peace and conflict studies at the College of St. Benedict, and an MFA in visual studies at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has received fellowships from foundations including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation.
The Veterans Book Project is loaned and administered by the Weeks Gallery at Jamestown Community College. The exhibition is one of three on view concurrently in the University Galleries. For Home and Country: World War I Posters from the Newark Public Library, on view in the South Gallery, showcases more than two dozen propaganda posters and commemorates the United States World War I Centennial. The Faculty Exhibition, on view in the Court Gallery, highlights innovative artwork in varied media by 22 William Paterson University art faculty members.
This exhibition is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470