* "Vietnam Now & Then," the photography show at Hemphill mingling contemporary landscapes and urban views with war-era photojournalism, proves as overwhelming and complicated as America's relationship with Southeast Asia. More than 100 pictures are arranged as if to signal the past's incursion on the present: Seven contemporary photographers' pictures -- of colonial architecture or downtown streets or stepped rice paddies, many in color and full of detail -- hang at eye level. Those views are sandwiched, above and below, by grim pictures from the '60s and '70s shot for news agencies covering the war. The juxtaposition proves most pointed when the contemporary work is Peter Steinhauer's placid landscapes with waterfalls as gentle as sugar pouring down a mountain. Just below, Sean Flynn's image of a Viet Cong suspect strung by his ankles, or Henri Huet's photo of American paratroopers forging a river near the jungle, catches the eye. Perhaps heaven can't exist without hell, but seeing the two so close will trigger a chill.
"Vietnam Now & Then" at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1027 33rd St. NW, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 202-342-5610, to Dec. 28.