Modern Art as CIA Weapon | Alberti’s Window

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2023-11-18 19:30:09

My friend just shared with me an old Independent article, “Modern Art was CIA ‘Weapon'” (22 October 1995). It has been revealed that the American CIA used unwitting artists like Pollock and De Kooning to make political statements during the cultural Cold War with Russia. The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. As Abstract Expressionism (and modern art in general) gained momentum in the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA used this art to foster images of American creativity and and intellectual freedom.

This type of abstract art is a stark contrast to the Soviet Realism that was officially adopted as the only art form of the Soviet Union in 1934. Compare, for example, details from two paintings that were made about the same time:

Left: Detail of Pollock's "No. 5, 1948". Right: detail of Fyodor Savvich Shurpin's "Morning of Our Motherland," 1946-48

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