Ghost Army

Brigit Farley will share about artist Ellsworth Kelly’s service with the Ghost Army during World War II. The April 13 gallery talk is in conjunction with the current exhibit at Pendleton Center for the Arts.

Pendleton Center for the Arts is providing multiple ways to engage the public in this year’s blockbuster exhibit.

“Ellsworth Kelly: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation” opened March 14. Kelly (1923-2015) created paintings, sculpture and prints during a 70-year career.

World War II history may seem like an unlikely pairing with contemporary art, but Kelly’s work with the infamous Ghost Army — the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion — provides an interesting backdrop to his work. Local resident Brigit Farley will present a gallery talk that highlights the work of the innovative soldiers and how they supported the war effort. She also will share about what some of their most famous members went on to accomplish. Short video clips will be available as well.

The event is Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at the arts center, 214 N. Main St., Pendleton. There is no admission charge.

According to the Public Broadcasting Service, American military personnel — many who later established careers in art, design and fashion — tricked the enemy with inflatable rubber tanks, jeeps and artillery, as well as sound effects and other carefully crafted illusions during WWII. They staged nearly two dozen deceptive operations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

In addition to Kelly, other well-known participants included fashion designer Bill Blass and photographer Art Kane.

Farley earned a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University. She worked as a United States Information Agency exhibit guide in the Soviet Union during the late 1980s.

Her research interests include 20th century Russia and Europe, War and Peace in the 20th century, Holocaust, and commemoration, translation and annotation of historical works from Eastern Europe and Russia. Her expertise covers a wide span, including Russia/Eastern Europe, U.S. and European foreign affairs, 1914 to present, Cold War, Great War, World War II, European ethnic conflict and the Holocaust.

The Kelly exhibit runs through May 3. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Groups can make arrangements for after-hours visits.

For more information, contact director@pendletonarts.org, 541-278-9201 or visit www.pendletonarts.org.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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