Artist Soldiers, which opened April 6th at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, showcases the artistic expression of the First World War. The exhibit includes art from two different perspectives – the professional artists recruited by the US Army and the soldiers themselves who created artwork. The professional artists include eight illustrators who were embedded with the American Expeditionary Forces, capturing everything from combat scenes to mundane everyday chores. The soldiers themselves made stone carvings in the soft limestone of the underground quarters and trenches. Photographer Jeff Gusky spent years capturing the artistic carvings, mostly patriotic expressions and portraits.
Other artifacts from WWI are also displayed in the exhibit, such as a wheelchair used during the war, gas mask, and field telephone. Check out the examples of “trench art” made by the soldiers, which consists of artillery shells and bullets fashioned into decorative pieces.
The National Air and Space Museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and admission is free of charge.