Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2018 Temporary Exhibit - October 1, 2020- January 2, 2022
Sponsored by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the traveling art exhibition Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2018 will be on display from October 1, 2021, to January 2, 2022. The show includes 36 works by 15 combat artists, portraying Marine Corps service from the mid-1970s through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibit is traveling to approximately 8 American cities west of the Mississippi River from early 2021 until mid-2023.
The Marine Corps Combat Art Program relies on talented Marines and civilians to document the ongoing missions of the Corps. The guidance they get is simple: “Go to war and do art.” The 34 works on canvas and 2 sculptures speak to the experiences of the artists, most of whom were deployed around the globe. The show is divided among three themes: “Every Clime and Place,” which illustrates the nation’s global force in readiness—able to respond rapidly to any location; “No Better Friend, No worse Enemy,” which portrays Marines capable of fighting the enemy but also delivering aid to those in need; and “The Price,” which provides a glimpse of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families make.
“Marine Corps art is up close and personal. It is about the individual Marine—in combat, during training, or while delivering assistance during times of great need,” said Lin Ezell, Curator Emeritus of the Marine Corps. “This art helps us better appreciate those who wear the uniform of today’s military service members.”
A guide for young visitors helps students understand what the artists hoped to achieve. The artwork includes portraits, landscapes, snapshots of training and combat, and sensitive portrayals of loss. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the honor, courage, and commitment exemplified by every U.S. Marine.
“The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation is pleased to sponsor this exhibition,” said Major General James W. Lukeman, USMC (ret.), who serves as President and CEO of MCHF. “ Not everyone is able to travel to the National Museum of the Marine Corps to see its treasures. This program enables us to share Marine Corps history—and its art—more widely.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
The National Museum of the Marine Corps traveling exhibit “Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2018” contains 36 works by 15 combat artists.
Arturo Alejandre enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1974. Four years later, this illustrator’s entries in the Camp Pendleton Audio Visual Art competition captured the attention of judges and Marine Corps art curator Jack Dyer, who requested that he submit his work for consideration as part of the permanent collection. Corporal Alejandre left active duty in 1978 and joined the Marine Corps Reserve as a public affairs Marine and contributor to the combat art program. Sergeant Alejandre continued his creative work as a photographer and artist after he left the service.
Robert Bates joined the Marine Corps in 2001 after high school graduation in Pennsylvania. Deployed to Afghanistan twice, the rifleman was called on to use his self-taught skills to sketch the landscape for strategic purposes. He left the Corps after eight years but returned to war as a civilian combat artist in 2012. Bates graduated with a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, after which he taught high school art because he got to “draw, paint, build, and design cool things” with his students every day. Presently, he works as a curriculum specialist and illustrator in law enforcement and resides in Florida. He donated several of his compelling works to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in 2011.
Kristopher Battles, a landscape and portrait artist, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1986 and served for 10 years, receiving his BFA from Northeast Missouri State University in 1991. The Marine Corps recalled him to serve as a combat artist around the globe in 2006. Sergeant Battles deployed twice to Iraq, including service with VMM-263 to document the first deployment of Ospreys in combat. One of Battles’ assignments was in Haiti to witness humanitarian assistance provided by Marines to survivors of the 2010 earthquakes. Staff Sergeant Battles left the Marine Corps in 2014 to become a civilian artist for the Navy. He earned his MFA from the University of Hartford in 2014. Battles is presently the civilian artist-in-residence at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
H. Avery Chenoweth received his undergraduate degree in art and architecture from Princeton in 1950, followed by an MFA from the University of Florida. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and served in Korea, after which he remained in the Marine Corps Reserve. In 1967, Colonel Chenoweth volunteered as a combat artist in Vietnam and then as a photographer. He deployed as an artist during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and continued contributing to the combat art program, completing historical works, portraits, and a series of Marine aircraft. After a career in advertising and television broadcasting, Colonel Chenoweth continues to paint and write in Georgia.
Anthony Cioffi enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991 and completed his training as an infantry machine gunner at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. His artistic talents were quickly noticed, and he was often tapped to design guidon flags, tattoos, and other products for his fellow Marines. Corporal Cioffi left the Corps in 1995 and took courses in drawing, design, and color theory at the Maryland College of Art and Design. In 2012, he contributed a work to the Museum’s permanent collection based on his service in Somalia in 1993. Cioffi lives in Maryland.
Edward M. Condra III was born in Hawaii and grew up in a Navy family. He studied art at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art and elsewhere and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1960. Having served 2 tours in Vietnam as an engineer officer, he subsequently turned his memories and sketches into works of art that were accepted into the Marine Corps’ collection. In 1968, he was officially assigned to the combat art program as a contributing artist. Colonel Condra retired after 26 years of service. He continued his work as a prolific artist until his death in 2016.
John Deckert was born in Munich, Germany, and immigrated to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Austin College, Sherman, Texas, and studied art for a year in France. Deckert has been contributing to the field for over 20 years as both an artist and as an author for ARTS Magazine.
Alex Durr received a BFA from Florida State University in 1983, after which he joined the Marine Corps. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, he trained as a naval flight officer and subsequently became a pilot. Major Durr volunteered as an artist for most of his Marine Corps career, and in 2006 he was accepted into the Marine Corps combat art program and deployed to Iraq. He retired in 2010 as a lieutenant colonel. Durr is a commercial pilot and continues to create aviation art in Texas.
Michael D. Fay, a native of Pennsylvania, first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1975 and left to pursue a BS in art education at Pennsylvania State University in 1978. He reenlisted in 1983 and served for a decade as an avionics technician and recruiter. Fay joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 2000, when he became a full-time combat artist, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Fay retired in 2009. His MFA in illustration was earned from the University of Hartford in 2012, and Fay continues to create and teach others the power of art. He founded the Joe Bonham Project, whose artists capture the resilience and recovery of wounded warriors.
Peter Michael Gish became a Marine Corps aviator in 1943. He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1945. The Marine Corps recalled Gish to Reserve duty in 1952-54 as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot. Ten years later, he graduated from Yale University with an MFA. He voluntarily returned to duty in 1967 to serve as a Marine combat artist during Vietnam, and, in 1991, he volunteered again in Iraq and Turkey and documented Marine Corps activities in Somalia in 1992-93. Colonel Gish remained in the Marine Corp Reserve until retirement in 1996. This multi-dimensional artist currently has an art studio in Sauderstown, Rhode Island.
Keith McConnell, born in Ohio in 1946, added a camera and sketchbook to his pack as a young Marine in Vietnam in 1968-69. After the war, he developed his artistic skills further through formal training at Ohio University in Athens, the Cooper School of Art, and the Los Angeles Art Center School. As a Reservist, he created his first of nine posters for Toys for Tots in 1977, covered the Marine Corps wrestling team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and deployed as a combat artist during Desert Storm in 1991. He has had a successful career as a commercial artist, based in California, where he has created album covers, illustrations for children’s books, and other works of art.
Burton E. Moore grew up in South Carolina and joined the Marines at age 21 in 1967. Sergeant Moore left the Corps after 4 years and combat tours in Vietnam to attend college but returned as a commissioned second lieutenant soon after graduation. He served for another 9 years, leaving as a captain. His avid interest in duck hunting led Moore to a self-taught career in wildlife and sporting art for over 20 years. His design won the 1986-87 Federal Duck Stamp competition. In the early 1990s, he contributed to the Marine Corps combat art program, serving in Somalia and other locations. Major Moore died in 2016.
Donna J. Neary was born in Ohio in 1941. From 1959 until 1964, she served in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Her career as a successful artist included portraits, book and magazine covers, and illustrations for military publications. In 1978, the Marine Corps commissioned her as a Reserve captain, and she spent the next 24 years as a combat artist, creating historical uniform plates and covering Marine Corps operations in Somalia, South Korea, the Arctic Circle, and elsewhere.
Marc Poole is an art instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and has been sharing his love of art with students since 1999. He earned his MFA from Mississippi State University in 2001. A freelance artist and regular contributor to the American Society of Aviation Artists, he achieves at least some of his perspective and inspiration while at the controls of general aviation aircraft.
About the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in 2006. Its soaring design evokes the WWII image of the flag-raisers on Iwo Jima. Immersive exhibits surround visitors with the artifacts, sights, and sounds of Marines in action. The Museum is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA, the Museum is open daily except Christmas. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit www.usmcmuseum.com.
About the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of Marine Corps history, the Foundation was established in 1979 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation supports the historical programs of the Marine Corps. It provides grants and scholarships for research and the preservation, restoration, and commissioning of Marine Corps art, artifacts, and landmarks. Having secured funding for the construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center, the Foundation’s current mission is to seek support that will strengthen programming at the Museum and beyond its walls. For more information, visit www.MarineHeritage.org.