Kent State: Four decades later

Sunday 9th May 2010 – July 2010

The 40th anniversary of the shooting of University students at Kent State University is commemorated in a provocative exhibition at the University of Sydney’s University Art Gallery.

Kent State: Four Decades Later features British pop artist Richard Hamilton’s seminal 1970 screen print Kent State. The print captures the moment on May 4, 1970 when the US National Guard opened fire on unarmed students during an anti war protest, killing four and wounding nine others.

The screen print, an enormous edition of 5000, was based on a photograph Hamilton took the news reports as the tragedy unfolded. “I set up a camera in front of the TV for a week,” Hamilton said. “If something interesting happened, I snapped it up. In the middle of the week the shooting of students by National Guardsmen occurred. The tragic event produced the most powerful images that emerged from the camera… there it was in my hand, by chance.”

For Kent State: Four Decades Later, co-curators Dr Stephen and Luke Parker invited eight contemporary artists of differing generations to reflect on the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings and Hamilton’s work. The artists who use various media to explore political themes, include Susan Norrie, Raquel Ormella, Tom Nicholson, Michael Callaghan, Marie McMahon, Justin Trendall, Barbara Campbell and Bea Maddock, one of Australia’s best-known printmakers.

Click here to access the pdf of the exhibition catalogue