The War Room Project: an anti-war painted art installation by William T. Ayton
the room
gallery one: related works
gallery two: precursor works
events & schedule
news & press



Direct Art magazine -- online article -- online review

The Boston Globe (Sept 3 2004)
Not far from Madison Square Garden, "The War Room" covers all four walls of a small gallery space with black-and-white images of soldiers, witnesses, and victims. Painted by William T. Ayton, it recalls Picasso's Guernica, which Ayton says became his inspiration after a reproduction of the giant antiwar mural at the United Nations was covered up for a speech by Colin Powell last year. "It is an homage to Guernica, and to artistic freedom during wartime especially, and to the power of art to move us politically," said Diana Ayton-Shenker, the exhibit's curator and the artist's wife. A former human rights activist, Ayton-Shenker said, "I'm drawn to the power of art to move people, to go beyond dry rhetoric to the emotional level, which is where I believe real change happens."

Chronogram (Sept 2004)
In the media, we see numerous images of war, but we never see ourselves staring at the TV screen. The numb, stunned faces of "The Witnesses" remind us of our own tortured responses to a war. "The witnesses are us - the American people," I observed to Mr. Ayton. He replied that all four panels - warriors, victims of war, watchers, and a destroyed landscape - are us.

Mentioned in Opinion Journal (Aug 27, 2004), the website of the WSJ's Editorial Page, apparently.

The Almanac (Ulster Publishing)
Gazette Advertiser/ Register Herald
Poughkeepsie Beat
Poughkeepsie Journal
Taconic Press Weekend





The War Room will be featured in an article in the magazine Direct Art, volume 12, which will be on sale in late 2005 / early 2006. More details to follow.

Footage of The War Room (NYC) & an interview with the artist may be featured in an upcoming documentary about the relationship between art & politics, entitled "Art Rules". More details will be posted here when they become available.


NYC War Room -- full-scale installation: Manhattan (Imagine Festival), August 26 (opening reception), 2004. Dates: 8/28 - 9/30 2004. Location: chashama gallery, 208 West 37 St, NYC.

Poughkeepsie War Room -- small-scale installation: Albert Shahinian Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY, opening August 21, 2004.

February 2004

We are currently talking to venues about installing the complete War Room. Check back soon for details.

'At the turn of the century, when I entered the Army, the target was one enemy casualty at the end of a rifle or bayonet or sword. Then came the machine gun, designed to kill by the dozen. After that—the heavy artillery, raining death by the hundreds. Then, the aerial bomb, to strike by the thousands, followed by the atom bomb explosion, to reach the hundreds of thousands. Now, electronics and other processes of science have raised the destructive potential to encompass millions. And, with restless hands, we work feverishly in dark laboratories to find the means to destroy all at one blow. This very triumph of scientific annihilation had destroyed the possibilty of war being a medium of practical settlement of international differences. War had become a Frankenstein's monster to both sides. "No longer is it the weapon of adventure whereby a shortcut to international power and wealth—a place in the sun—can be gained. If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess the chance of the winner of the duel—it contains rather the germs of double suicide." Abolishing war was "the one issue upon which both sides can agree, for it is the one issue—and the only decisive one—in which the interests are completely parallel. It is the one issue which, if settled, might settle all the others."'
From "American Caesar: Douglas MacArther 1880-1964" by William Manchester. Thanks to M. Toscano for sending the quote.

January 2004
Online review of the Propaganda of War group show (Oct-Nov 2003, Washington DC), which contained several pieces on this site.

December 2003
2004 Project Grant awarded to The War Room by Dutchess County Arts Council (NY State).

November 2003
1991 drawing "War" published in Fall 2003 issue of The Wilson Quarterly.

October 2003
Two large (4' x 6') paintings from the War Room ("The Victims" & "The Witnesses") plus drawing "Collateral" displayed in Washington D.C. exhibit, "Propaganda of War", organized by Triangle Artists Group / Warehouse Gallery. Click here for details.

August-September, 2003
NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) awards fiscal sponsorship to The War Room, enabling the receipt of tax-deductible contributions.

July 1, 2003
Article "Art As Activism" (written by the artist) published in "The Citizen" magazine ("The Nation's Politics in the Hudson Valley") including images from The War Room and the UDHR series. Click here to read the text.

May 27, 2003
War Room website officially launched. Click here for the press release.

May 2003
Prototype of The War Room Project website launched with links to the website.

April 2003

"Cored" drawing is exhibited in Gallery 218, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as part of the "War And Peace: Artists' Voices" exhibition.

March 2003

Sketch for "The War Room: The Witnesses" is featured on, in "The Art of War" online show (gallery two of that exhibition).

February 2003
Project conceived and initial sketches completed.

Ongoing: several of the images related to The War Room can also be seen on The Hammond Gallery, along with an extensive portfolio of my work.