top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatteo Pascale

Modern Art & Red Scare: Oh My!

This is an essay I wrote in high school, my sophomore year. To this day it remains one of my favorite school assignments I ever wrote. I really take pride in the essay you’re about to read. This essay in high school took me four months to write. Thank god my teachers at the time let me take my time writing this piece. With this said let this essay commence.

The story behind the CIA and modern art is a complicated tale that shows art is not separated from politics. Radio Liberty originally called Radio Liberation was founded by The American Committee for Liberation of the People of Russia, on March 1. 1953, and four days later reporting the death of Joseph Stalin. Later, after gaining many listeners, in March 1954, Radio Liberty was broadcasting in eleven languages eight hours a day. Based at Oberwiesenfeld Airport in Munich, it hired many former Nazis agents who fought for The SS in World War II. Radio Liberty broadcast targeted the Soviet Union, whereas Radio Free Europe targeted the satellite countries. Both broadcasts dealt with technical challenges to reach their audiences.

RFE’s Hungarians service was accused of provoking the 1956 Hungarian revolution, by giving their listeners false promises of Western freedom and military assistance. The accusations were suspended after an investigation of RFE’s influence on the Hungarian revolution.

Fulton Lewis, a journalist and anti-communist commentator on U.S. radio, was one of RFE’s sharpest critics. He was a CIA agent and spoke out later about this phase,

“We wanted to unite the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievements without any rigid barriers as to what you must, and what you must say and what you must do.”

After the failure of the Hungarian revolution, Anti-Communist activists took a new stand. They moved into covert operations in Europe to promote freedom. For decades it was rumored and there were jokes about it. But now it is confirmed as a fact that The CIA used American modern art such as the works of Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem De Kooning, and Mark Rothko's works of art as a weapon in the Cold War while doing this at least up to 20 years.

In 1958 the touring exhibition “The New American Painting” showed work on exhibition was in Paris France at The Tate Gallery it brought the American CIA millions of dollars. The money was provided by Fleischmann who was unknowingly giving millions in funds to the CIA. The money was transferred to London at the American by taxpayers in the US

Catalog of The New American Painting as Shown in Eight European Countries, 1958–1959, Tate Gallery, London 1959

Former CIA operative Tom Braden said,

“We would go to somebody in New York who was a well-known rich

person and we say:’

‘We want to set up a foundation and made me pledge to secrecy.’ Julius Fleischmann's role was that he sat on the board of the International Program of the Museum of Modern Art in New York - Several powerful figures in the CIA worked for the MoMA in New York.

International Organization Division (IOD) was set up by Tom Braden. He oversaw The Office Subsidized Animation, of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which was composed of many American Jazz artists and opera singers. Tom Braden funded with CIA money for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s international touring program. Which later was refocused on the film industry to promote America’s anarchic Avant-Garde.”

The US government now recognizes a dilemma. The philistinism by Joseph McCarthy’s panic exiled most of the Avant-Garde or unorthodox art was considered Communist and Un-American. After the panic, many art schools were raided on conspiracy charges against the US government and the way of American life. Many art schools identified as Leninists or Trotskyites under the FBI at that point in time in American History.

During the Cold War, The CIA and FBI were in a civil dispute. The two were constantly spying on each other to see who more American was. Due to McCarthyism, the practice of spying on figures in liberal media, Public Television, and artists is treason without evidence because of Red Scare. The fear in common American people of communist influence in America because of the Anti-Communist pursuit of Republican US Senator Joseph McCarthy and his friend J. Edger Hoover. The most famous speeches and investigations of Senator McCarthy's hearing and court trial. He was on the trial for arresting Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC). FBI. Director J. Edger Hoover and Senator McCarthy hated all media and pop culture in the United States. House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which was formed by Martian Dies in 1939 was shut down in 1944 by the FBI. (HUACO) had many German Nazis when shut down they were eventually handed over to Israel. The following investigation of the charges of Alger Hiss in 1948. (HUAC) was investigated by the FBI. When the FBI was tipped off that the Hollywood film industry smuggled USSR Soviet Spies into the US.

22 views0 comments


bottom of page