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Art and the reality of war

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Can art help us make sense of war? War itself is a senseless act, and therefore looking for at art to decipher its meaning, might be pointless. At the same time, art can communicate the reality of war in way that journalism can’t. Art can also provide us with the emotional vision that can help us imagine a post-war, post-crisis future. But for the moment, while the war is ongoing, what the art world can do best is mobilise its network and help directly Ukrainian artists in practical terms, as well as make the world aware of the rich Ukrainian art scene, writes Charles Green. Around the world there are artists, art museums, collectors, curators: all have passionately responded to the war in Ukraine. They all want to help; they want us to help. Understanding the facts is clear enough. But does art help us make sense of war? The answers are neither simple nor comforting and, mostly, depend on who ‘us’ is. If ‘us’ is the world of artists, art museums, collectors, curators—the so-called art…

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