The New Social Environment#44

An-my Lê with Dr. Lucy Bowditch


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Photographer An-my Lê and art historian Dr. Lucy Bowditch discuss creative life in the context of our new social reality.

An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960. Lê fled Vietnam with her family as a teenager in 1975, the final year of the war, eventually settling in the United States as a political refugee. Lê received BAS and MS degrees in biology from Stanford University (1981, 1985) and an MFA from Yale University (1993). Her photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields.

Projects include Viêt Nam (1994–98), in which Lê’s memories of a war-torn countryside are reconciled with the contemporary landscape; Small Wars (1999–2002), in which Lê photographed and participated in Vietnam War reenactments in South Carolina; and 29 Palms (2003–04), in which United States Marines preparing for deployment play-act scenarios in a virtual Middle East in the California desert. Suspended between the formal traditions of documentary and staged photography, Lê’s work explores the disjunction between wars as historical events and the ubiquitous representation of war in contemporary entertainment, politics, and collective consciousness.

She has received many awards, including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (1996). She has had major exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006); Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2006); International Center of Photography Triennial (2006); P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City (2002); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997). Lê lives and works in New York. (Source:

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain, the first comprehensive survey of An-My Lê’s oeuvre, is co-published by Aperture and Carnegie Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Read more.

In the Rail:

Dr. Lucy Bowditch received her doctorate in Art History from the University of Chicago in 1994, and has been teaching full time at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, since 1995. She regularly teaches Modern Art, Contemporary Art, and History of Photography.

Her interest in notions of public and private is longstanding. In addition to delivering an initial conference paper “Public and Private in Light of Lingerie,” and consequently publishing an essay on the topic, she taught a course titled “Constructions of Public and Private Space” at the New School and chaired a College Art Association session with the same title. She regularly delivers conference papers on the topic. Dr. Bowditch is currently working on “Courbet in Context: Modernity, Morality, and Lingerie.” (Source)

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.