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Written by Alexandra Cullen (Xandra), Gallery Host

Carol Summers (1925 – 2016); Kill for Peace, 1967; screenprint on paper; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dorsky; 1972.4

Kill for Peace (1967) comes to us from New York artist Carol Summers as a form of anti-war protest. Summers, known for his woodcut prints and other forms of printmaking, created this print for a fundraising exhibition entitled Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam. The exhibition itself was put together by the artist group called Artists and Writers Protest Inc. Proceeds from this exhibition, which comprised of 16 visual and 18 written pieces, went toward funding peace protests. The show debuted at the Associated American Artist Gallery in New York.

Summers was raised by two artists and began his career as a painter before delving further into print making. Much of his art is larger scale. Summers typically had an affinity for bold colors, and though this piece is more muted with the black and white print, his color preferences can still be seen here with the red “X” slashed across the center of the print. Summers served as a Marine in World War II which likely intensified his negative feelings toward the Vietnam War. The title of the screen print Kill for Peace was influenced by an anti-war song of the same name. The large “X” across the painting implies that the target for the Vietnam war fell onto women and children. Many victims faced not only death, but American wielded weaponry like Napalm and Agent Orange. The negative effects of this chemical warfare can still be felt today. In Kill for Peace, we come face to face with those who see firsthand the horrors of war whom and often end up being the casualties of violence in war time.

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