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Thread: Modern art was CIA 'weapon'
November 2nd, 2010 #1Registered User
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Modern art was CIA 'weapon'
FOR DECADES in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince - except that it acted secretly - the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.
Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.
Until now there has been no first-hand evidence to prove that this connection was made, but for the first time a former case officer, Donald Jameson, has broken the silence. Yes, he says, the agency saw Abstract Expressionism as an opportunity, and yes, it ran with it.
"Regarding Abstract Expressionism, I'd love to be able to say that the CIA invented it just to see what happens in New York and downtown SoHo tomorrow!" he joked. "But I think that what we did really was to recognise the difference. It was recognised that Abstract Expression- ism was the kind of art that made Socialist Realism look even more stylised and more rigid and confined than it was. And that relationship was exploited in some of the exhibitions.
Because Abstract Expressionism was expensive to move around and exhibit, millionaires and museums were called into play. Pre-eminent among these was Nelson Rockefeller, whose mother had co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As president of what he called "Mummy's museum", Rockefeller was one of the biggest backers of Abstract Expressionism (which he called "free enterprise painting"). His museum was contracted to the Congress for Cultural Freedom to organise and curate most of its important art shows.
The museum was also linked to the CIA by several other bridges. William Paley, the president of CBS broadcasting and a founding father of the CIA, sat on the members' board of the museum's International Programme. John Hay Whitney, who had served in the agency's wartime predecessor, the OSS, was its chairman. And Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA's International Organisations Division, was executive secretary of the museum in 1949.
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November 2nd, 2010 #2
What the hell I don't even
November 2nd, 2010 #3
So it wasn't created by the gubberment but just put on the world's refrigerator door so the commies seemed less creative and intellectual than the US. I think the lesson we can take from this is that we should all do some abstract pieces if we want to keep communism at bay. And buy war bonds. And brush your teeth.
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November 2nd, 2010 #4
Do they show terror suspects slide shows of Newman paintings to break their will? No wonder they hate the west.
November 2nd, 2010 #5
November 2nd, 2010 #6
"Do they show terror suspects slide shows of Newman paintings to break their will?"
Worse, Britney Spears. While changing temperatures from boiling to freezing, along with sleep deprivation, blasting American pop music, and of course, sometimes water boarding.
By the end, some of those terrorists were whispering to people who weren't there...
November 2nd, 2010 #7
Heh, never understood the popularity of artists like Pollack. Now I do.
*adds another thing to the list of the horrible things the CIA has done*
Pssst... I has sketchbook