Monday, July 30, 2007

Unprecedented Terror

Soldiers are always collecting souvenirs from the battlefield.
History Detectives about Civil War Balloon PBS

And then a documentary on the artist Mark Rothko. While I watched I read his biography on wikipedia

Sometimes my study for my Tree in the Door posts overlaps with the old weblogs, JFK and Panay. Rothko overlaps with JFK. My collection of JFK assassination lore is such that my ears perked up when wikipedia said he sat beside Joseph Kennedy at JFK's inaugural ball.

Apparently, modern artists received funding from the CIA, the story layed out in a book sited below.

Following are some cut and pastes...these, what to call them...exhibits, can be complicated, and require background, study, of the jfk lore. I've made a lot of them...too many!!


Despite Rothko’s insistence that he was a life-long anarchist, it came out after his death that he was in the employ of the CIA.
He was scarcely alone.
According to Frances Stonor Saunders's The Cultural Cold War: The
CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (The New Press, 2000), TS Eliot, Andre Malraux, Stephen Spender, Cszelaw Milosz Bertrand Russell, Robert Lowell, Dizzy Gillespie, Peter Mathiessen, George Plimpton, Mary McCarthy, George Orwell, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko . . . all professed progressives, with the exception of the royalist Eliot, were in the employ of the CIA.
They received funding in exchange for “battling Communism” (however implicitly) on the cultural front.
The well-known art critic and unrelenting champion of Jackson Pollack,
Clement Greenberg, a nominal leftist, also on the take, was not the least bit chagrined after being outed.
He argued that artists have no choice but to rely on patrons to support their art; whether the patrons are royal dukes, wealthy industrialists, global oil corporations, or the CIA matters little in the end, so long as strong art is produced.

end quote
Harold Jaffe

Here's another:

In 1943 Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Barnett Newman wrote a manifesto, essentially, for the Abstract Expressionist Movement. One of their points was, "It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academism. There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing. We assert that the subject is crucial…. Consequently if our work embodies those beliefs it must insult anyone who is spiritually attuned to interior decoration; pictures of the home; pictures over the mantle; pictures of the American scene…"
When the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an unprecedented terror fell upon the world like so much nuclear fallout. The Abstract Expressionist artists felt keenly that they had to present a pessimism, a somber refusal to paint either reality or viscera, as that would be frivolous, superfluous, and hollow. The brutality of their art was a screaming out of rage at what their world had become. Nothing should be finished, or refined, or inauthentic. Crudeness, power, and destruction were the only reactions left.
MoMA, The Bomb and the Abstract Expressionists
by Annabell Shark


And one more...a triptych!!
The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters [BARGAIN PRICE] (Paperback) by Frances Stonor Saunders (Author)

As Saunders points out, "Cultural Freedom did not come cheap." In fact, "Over the next seventeen years, the CIA was to pump tens of millions of dollars into the Congress for Cultural Freedom and related projects. With this kind of commitment, the CIA was in effect acting as America's Ministry of Culture." It was Allen Dulles' idea to organize most of this funding at arms length, through a "consortium" of "philanthropic foundations, business corporations, and other institutions and individuals, who worked hand in hand with the CIA to provide the cover." Dulles had moved to the CIA in 1950 as the case officer of the National Committee for a Free Europe, whose fund-raising wing was helped by a young actor, Ronald Reagan. The CIA role increased in 1954 when Cord Meyer replaced Tom Braden bringing fresh ideas and agents and stepping up the cultural war. The truth about the CIA's role in the CCF broke with the Patman revelations in 1964, the New York Times investigation of 1966 and the famous Ramparts expose of 1967.
The Cultural Cold War: Faust Not the Pied Piper
Alan Johnson


There was more, and I might work up a jfk post.

Next was a bio on the life of Queen Elizabeth, who had T.S.Eliot's fealty.

I rarely go to concerts, or performances, but I did go to a reading by Cszelaw Milosz and afterwards after waiting in line had him autograph his book, since water damaged, and I specified a page for the signature...a poem about Eucalyptus I liked. Eucalyptus is an interesting word, and tree!
Cszelaw Milosz
Walking along the steet, I raise my eyes and see the nuclear laboratories glowing among the eucalyptus trees in the folds of a hill, and there is San Francisco Bay, metallic and darkening now, taking only some the sky’s green, yellow, and carmine.
San Francisco Stories: Great Writers on the City By John Miller
Then Charlie Rose has the Simpson creators on to talk about the movie...and of course Homer works at the Nuclear Plant.

Tree in the Door
July 30, 2007

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