27 Mar Above and Beyond—Art Installation Honoring U.S. Military Personnel Killed in Service in Vietnam
Above and Beyond was commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum and created by U.S. military veterans (and artists) Rick Steinbock, Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli, and Mike Helbing. The exhibit is comprised of replicated dog tags of U.S. military personnel killed in service to their country in Vietnam, and it includes one black tag dedicated to those who died as a consequence of their service.
The installation has found residence at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago, until April 2020.
Look up as you take the escalator to the third floor. More than 58,000 dog tags are suspended from the ceiling, a vast field representing the dead. Extensive information about the exhibit is available, including an electronic directory where I was able to look up the father of one of my friends.
The work was completed in 2001 and installed in the original home of the National Veteran’s Art Museum on the Near South Side. But when the museum moved to its new location in Portage Park, the space wasn’t suitable to display it. Above and Beyond was placed in storage. In the meantime, the piece had received wide exposure. My friend whose father was killed in Vietnam and I were at the museum one day talking about it with a staff member, when—sure enough—a visitor from out of town asked to see the dog tags exhibit.
I personally am happy to see that this important work is available for public viewing.
Many more works by U.S. veterans are on display at the National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago (Portage Park neighborhood).