Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-Op? - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23525366 - June 2020 (7 comments)
Pretty sure there have been other threads, including on the Peter Matthiessen (Paris Review) connection - anybody want to find them?
Edit: there's this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10963429 - and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10964477 linking to https://www.salon.com/2012/05/27/exclusive_the_paris_review_....
Edit 2 - found some more:
During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7991903 - July 2014 (30 comments)
Abstract Expressionism was (in part) a covert CIA operation - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1891222 - Nov 2010 (1 comment)
Is the popularity of reactive programming a Facebook psy-op? They certainly popularized it via React, but does that mean there was some deep agenda inside Facebook to popularize reactive programming to accomplish some mysterious occult goal? Or was it just that Facebook is big, happened to employ some good devs who liked reactive programming, and dumped a lot of money into it?
When big companies and governments throw money around they distort the market and whatever happens to be in the right place at the right time to grab that cash tends to get favored. That's usually all there is to it unless you can find concrete evidence that (for example) someone with authority in the CIA wanted to promote that specific type of art to achieve a specific societal outcome.
you can literally invent million dollar excuses for value transfers to arbitrary individuals.
(I'm purposely conflating modern and postmodern art because I imagine that many who see the term "modern art" make that mistake, and because Pollock et al. kind of bridge the two in eschewing representation while still using traditional media.)
However, there are a lot folks here who don't seem to got the intent of this operation, and it was an operation with a goal. The goal was to subvert any trend toward political expression in art in the US as Soviet art was very political and a powerful force in shaping public opinion. We knew we couldn't control it so we ensured that it didn't happen here. Roughly speaking, of course.
I mean compare a random surviving Da Vinci against the stereotypical "Man in Box" install circa 2005 NYC (say a cheap red string tied between two posts, while the audience listens to musak -- to give a dumb exemplar of the type of thing I've heard decribed as Modern Art.)
Agency, as in there are hundreds of millions of third-worlders who have been conditioned to believe they have no Agency. Since grammar school.
Which the Agency itself isn't really any good at (at least since the 50's), but those in power locally are more than happy to exploit the boogeyman and make it part of the curricula.
Let’s not pretend the CIA is particularly good at anything other than overthrowing Latin American democracies.
and towards China in particular: https://chinanow.britishcouncil.cn/
Some on the left (and right I imagine) say these are an example of neo-colonialist neo-liberalist ideas and that does seem as conspiracyish as this article but if you imagine in 50 years time a politics article looking at the arts right now, then an archived series of these projects from our governments international arts organisations might well be included!
Also Picasso was a real commie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso#Political_views - also Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo.
but we invented taco tuesday and family guy
No, it's not. No more than other attempts, like assassinating Castro (man, that one is really a laughing stock if you read that one front to back) or their involvement in "war against drugs". Maybe they start it but had absolutely no control where it was going.
Rockefeller, in his ambition to elevate the visual allure of the lobby in the newly-constructed Rockefeller Center, enlisted Rivera to produce an imposing mural. The outcome was "Man At The Crossroads," an artwork of monumental scale and significance.
Rivera's work is a meticulous tapestry, deftly weaving myriad aspects of the social and scientific zeitgeist of his era. Echoes of Communism, an influence in Rivera's other works, can also be discerned here. The centerpiece of the composition features a worker, seemingly the master of the machinery surrounding him. This focal figure is presented beneath a colossal fist clutching an orb, a representation of atomic recombination and cellular division in an ongoing act of biological and chemical genesis.
Four propeller-like forms extend from the central figure towards the composition's corners, signifying light arcs emanating from large lenses that anchor the spatial edges. Rivera coined these as "elongated ellipses". They encapsulate cosmological and biological forces, such as erupting suns and cellular structures, symbolizing the revelations afforded by the telescope and the microscope.
Interwoven between these arcs are vignettes of contemporary social life. To the left, affluent society women are depicted indulging in cards and cigarettes. In stark contrast, on the right, we find Lenin amidst a diverse assembly of workers. Juxtaposed scenes of militaristic force and a Russian May Day rally laden with red flags encapsulate Rivera's contrasting societal visions – a decadent, jobless society, dispassionately observing escalating conflict, and Lenin ushering in a socialist utopia.
Classical statues tower behind the observers at the edges of the scene. The left bears an enraged Jupiter, his hand clutching a thunderbolt, severed by a lightning strike – an embodiment of the frontier of ethical evolution. Conversely, a headless seated Caesar on the right signifies the frontier of material development. These images were Rivera's symbolic defiance against superstition, advocating for the scientific mastery of nature and the overthrow of authoritarianism by the emancipated proletariat.
The mural's overt Communist themes caused a stir among certain American observers. When Rivera stood his ground against removing Lenin's depiction, Rockefeller retaliated by having the mural plastered over. Erased.
In the subsequent years, Rockefellers skill at erasing art made him a key figure in the CIA's initiative to suppress intellectual discourse within the art world. In pursuit of this endeavor, the agency orchestrated the flooding of galleries with abstract art, featuring indecipherable splashes of paint, thereby drowning out the voices of artists who dared to infuse their creations with thought-provoking messages
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."
From 45 Communist Goals, published 1958 in "The Naked Communist" and read into the Congressional Record in 1963. Worth checking out, much of it came to pass.
And in general, american hegemony roughly aligned with interests of humanity as a whole, because with all it's downfalls and atrocities and ugliness, its still much better than the alternative.