The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s sprawling exhibit, “War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath,” covers everything from training to combat to the often grisly aftermath of battle, surveying a vast array of conflicts, from the great-power wars to regional conflicts in Colombia, the Congo, and Nagorno-Karabakh. There’s plenty of action on display—like Robert Capa’s blurred, almost hallucinatory vignette from the storming of Normandy and Horst Faas’ hard-to-believe photograph of five U.S. helicopters hovering on the front lines in Vietnam. But the exhibit offers fleeting views of beauty along with omnipresent danger—the graceful arcs of ships seen from the air as they rush into battle, and a picturesque urban vista that serves as a backdrop for a young, bottle-wielding Catholic protester in 1960s Northern Ireland. Simon Norfolk’s series of pastel-hued photographs of France’s D-Day beaches taken in 2004 closes the exhibit, offering a tangible reminder that war, as dire as it seems in the moment, can also be transitory.
The exhibition is on view Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursdays to Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to Sept. 29 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. $8–$10. (202) 639-1700. corcoran.org.