Art and the CIA (Pollocks vs Russia) – Lew Rockwell

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The more Greenberg wrote in promotion of the Abstract Expressionists, and particularly Pollock’s “action painting,” which involved dripping paint on the canvas, the more he collected them at minimal prices before he had made them famous. And as he increased his own power and influence, the more people wanted to buy these paintings, which served Greenberg’s real personal objective; to make himself rich.

Fortunately for him, like the military industrial complex, he had a helping hand in the federal government. As Frances Stoner Saunders explains in her brilliant book, Who Paid the Piper – The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, the CIA covertly supported the Abstract Expressionist movement by funding exhibits all over the world in promotion of the idea that the culture of freedom was superior to the culture of slavery, and by covertly promoting the purchasing of works by various private collections. Indeed, the CIA named its biggest front in Europe the Congress for Cultural Freedom. It worked. Soviet art became a laughing stock, and New York became the center of the art world, not Paris, where Picasso, a long-time member of the Communist party and winner of the Stalin Peace Prize (who can forget his doves of peace?), still reigned supreme.
Art and the CIA (Pollocks vs Russia) - Lew Rockwell

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