Capital District Council for the Social Studies (Albany, NY)
John J. Curley
Assistant Professor, Art History, MacDonough Family Faculty Fellow, Wake Forest University
Since the Cold War was in many respects more ideological than military, more about perceptions and propaganda than about battles and bombing, images—especially those in the mass press—played a primary role in it. In fact, paintings were important soldiers in the conflict. Just as American critics positioned abstract art, like that of Jackson Pollock, as emblematic of democracy, socialist critics interpreted didactic figurative art, like Socialist Realism, as the herald of revolution. By closely reading period art criticism and important paintings from both sides, we will explore and deconstruct the partisan role of art and images in the Cold War, especially during the 1950s and 1960s.
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