Was Modern Art a CIA Psy-Op? 

Flag by Jasper Johns (Credit: Museum of Modern Art)

Not quite. But the CIA used modern art as Cold War propaganda against the Soviet Union in ways that were not visible to the public. The school of painting known as Abstract Expressionism served as an expression of American soft power.

From JSTOR Daily (“where news meets its scholarly match”)

The preeminent Cultural Cold Warrior, Thomas W. Braden, who served as MoMA’s executive secretary from 1948-1949, later joined the CIA in 1950 to supervise its cultural activities. Braden noted, in a Saturday Evening Post article titled “I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral’” that American art “won more acclaim for the U.S. …than John Foster Dulles or Dwight D. Eisenhower could have bought with a hundred speeches.” The relationship between Modern Art and American diplomacy began during WWII, ….

Source: Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-Op? | JSTOR Daily


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