Friday, 21 October 2016

vanity gallery

Recalling once that a professor espoused the opinion that Soviet elements had infiltrated the Peacenik anti-war movements of the Vietnam and this support (both fiduciary and ideologically) was made manifest by the quality and artistry of the protest posters that they carried, I enjoyed this guided tour of the not so secret but still politically covert gallery of the CIA’s art collection. Though the rationale behind the particular patronage of abstract expressionists may be rather tamely selected due to the style of the day of when the headquarters were completed in the late 1950s, we learnt nonetheless that the intelligence agency funded and promoted—unbeknownst to the artists themselves, the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, in additional to the creators of the canvases that adorn the agency corridors.
Who knew? This is leagues better than most patriotic pictures of soaring eagles and flags—with long titles like “Why are there no knock-knock jokes about America? Because Freedom rings, by damnit!” Made available to the viewing public (at last and at least through the power of the internet and thanks to Hyperallergic), there was also an element of propaganda at work, making the statement that America was unbounded by tradition and fostered such licence and even showcased that freedom by loaning artwork out to a sort of travelling exhibition to Iron Curtain countries—despite being inaccessible to the American museum-goers. Be sure to visit this excellent and privileged curation at the link above.