Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Moderators: DrVolin, Wombaticus Rex, Jeff

Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby peartreed » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:05 pm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 78808.html

Apparently modern art was sponsored and spread as a CIA weapon against traditional Soviet art and culture. This article also acknowledges CIA infiltration of the film industry. :shock:
peartreed
 
Posts: 323
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:20 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:57 pm

SORRY PEARTREED.

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN IN A MEAN MOOD.

I'll try to cut down on invective in this edit...

It's curious, first, how it came to be that everyone all over the Web is suddenly citing this article by the great Frances Stonor Saunders, who wrote it 18 years ago as a teaser for her 1995 book, The Cultural Cold War (or Who Paid the Piper? in UK). Curious, but a good thing. That book is a must read - among other things, as a cure for the scholarship free approach so often found in conspiracy culture.

One should note, however:

1) Modern art predated the CIA by more than 50 years. The CIA did not "sponsor" modern art, nor is it a CIA weapon. Saunders' work deals with the art currents of the 1950s and 1960s, Abstract Expressionism in particular.

2) The CIA chose to funnel covert money to the Abstract Expressionists' tour of Europe. They had to be covert because if it had been overt, the Abstract Expressionists themselves would have told the CIA to get bent.

3) The CIA did this, as the article explains, because they thought this art that was considered fresh and innovative among the critics might make the Socialist Realism then dominant in the Soviet bloc look stodgy to European leftists by comparison. In other words, it was PR for America as a creative place.

4) It's unclear whether this had the intended effect (and basically unmeasurable). The CIA probably liked Abstract Expressionism for lacking an easy ideological message, which was an improvement over how most artists viewed the U.S. at the time. But if the Congress had got wind of it, it probably would have been a scandal that the CIA was using taxpayer funds to pay for the promotion of art that most Americans didn't get and would have mocked as "something my kid could do."

Again, you should read The Cultural Cold War (1995).

.
To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 12649
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby peartreed » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:10 pm

No apology necessary, Jack. My post was just parroting the headline hyperbole in the article cited without the perspective of "The Cultural Cold War (1995)", which I have not read yet - but will. The essence of the article, admittedly dated, still holds considerable interest to those uninformed yet inquiring art afficionados like me who would have thought that even Abstract Expressionism would be the polar opposite of intel propaganda. And mean moods often motivate the more mincing and meaningful monologues to masticate upon!
peartreed
 
Posts: 323
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:20 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby Joao » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:38 am

JackRiddler » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:57 pm wrote:It's curious, first, how it came to be that everyone all over the Web is suddenly citing this article by the great Frances Stonor Saunders

I didn't realize that it was getting so much play lately, but only nine hours after peartreed posted this OP (of which I was unaware at the time), I also cited that article in the Hollywood Scripting thread. I assumed the content was common knowledge around here, but perhaps peartreed and I have the same voices in our heads, or are both post-hypnotically suggested spam zombies.

In any case, I'd like to shamelessly reproduce my post here where perhaps it will stir some discussion. Also, I put a lot of time into restoring (hobby-level, not professionally) the movie mentioned below, so I like to plug the torrent link.

The following two images are stills from a 1968 Soviet spy movie, The Secret Agent's Blunder (Ошибка Резидента). The setting in both is a West German spy den / safehouse. The filmmakers really seem to have made an effort to associate these imperialist spooks with abstract modernist painting. Maybe it was just part of a domestic campaign against the bogeyman of bourgeois individualist art, but I wonder if it could have been a KGB "active measure" hinting at CIA cultivation of Abstract Expressionism. (The styles below aren't AE, to be sure.)

Image

Image
Joao
 
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:37 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby peartreed » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:33 pm

At least the synchronistic voices in our heads impart interesting art appreciation despite an outdated historical twist and faulty headline.

What remains intriguing to me is the extent that art, as an expression of culture, was weaponized in the propaganda wars to illustrate distinctly different and conflicting social and political cultures. The covert and costly funding of art exhibitions makes an odd arsenal.

But I'm comforted knowing great synchronistic minds think alike in a surprising coincidence of cultural intrigue, or mind manipulation, or zombie post-suggestion implanting. All such impressions are still worthy of a frame, even when hung up for a nasty, edited critique.
peartreed
 
Posts: 323
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:20 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Modern Art is a CIA Weapon

Postby Joao » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:14 am

To me it's interesting to consider that the Cold War also had something of an upside, in its way. I can't deny that I like some Ab. Ex. pieces, even if it does mean I've been unwittingly seduced by the twisted individualist lies of capitalism. And with the specter of Sovietism gone, we seem to have left behind the world where "high" art was important enough to operate as some kind of clandestine propaganda flagship. Not to put anything on a pedestal, of course, especially something midwifed by the CIA; it's just that that stuff was pretty rich as far as propaganda goes. And I don't think they're going so highbrow anymore.

Anyway, still a worthwhile trade for no longer living under the threat of global thermonuclear war, I guess.
Joao
 
Posts: 513
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:37 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)


Return to Culture Studies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests