An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain is the first comprehensive survey of the Vietnamese American artist, published on the occasion of a major exhibition organized by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Drawing, in part, from her own experiences of the Vietnam War, Lê has created a body of work committed to expanding and complicating our understanding of the activities and motivations behind conflict and war. Throughout her thirty-year career, Lê has photographed noncombatant roles of active-duty service members, often on the sites of former battlefields, including those reserved for training or the reenactment of war, and those created as film sets.
This publication includes selections from her well-known series Viêt Nam, Small Wars, 29 Palms, and Events Ashore, in addition to never-before-seen images, including recent photographs from the US-Mexico border, formative early work, and lesser-known projects. Essays by the organizing curator Dan Leers and curator Lisa J. Sutcliffe, as well as a dialogue between Lê and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, address the ways in which Lê’s quiet, nuanced work complicates the landscapes of conflict that have long informed American identity.