Not long after the Second World War, America and the USSR fell out with each other and were trying to get one up on the other for a number of years.
It’s no secret that some of the methods the CIA and USSR deployed at the time were a bit on the imaginative side. This led to dubious plots such as poisoned cigars, creating exploding seashells and toying with the idea of lethal bacteria and poison pills. Yes, exploding seashells.
Whether or not these stories are genuinely true or fabrications and smokescreens remains to be seen, but one weapon used to combat the USSR came in the unlikely form of what we have now dubbed “modern art”.
It seemed like a big ask and a wild stab in the dark as to whether or not the plan to use art as a weapon against the enemy would work. This, after all, was a period where the majority of Americans disliked and even despised “modern art”. So, it would take a lot of work to change public opinion in order to get their noses in front of the USSR.
The plan was to undermine communism using modern art. Russian art at the time was more easily understandable and thus, more popular. Using “Abstract Expressionism”, or what we now refer to as “modern art”, would show that the art and “Socialist Realism” coming from Russia was more rigid and stylised. It wasn’t creative or expressive.
America and the CIA, on the other hand, wanted to show the world that their artists didn’t play by any one person’s rules and that as a nation, they were forward thinking. They wanted to show that art from their enemy’s side lacked the freedom of expression and that in America, you could throw whatever it is you wanted at a blank canvas and call it art.
The CIA fully backed this new movement so that there was substantial proof for the public to see that in the US, creativity and intellectual freedom were celebrated. The US was leading the way in the propaganda war and there was a shift in cultural power that the USSR could not prevent. More importantly, they couldn’t compete.
All around Europe, American “modern art”, or “Abstract Expressionism”, was featuring more and more in exhibitions. It was also popping up in the film industry, publishing houses and writing. All in all, this propelled America’s new art to a whole new level and helped demonstrate globally that the West and America was devoted to intellectual and creative freedom without artists being dictated to.
This was a stark contrast to the world in which artists in the Soviet Union lived in. It was only a matter of time before communist artists started rebelling and adding elements of America’s Abstract Expressionism into their own pieces.
We all know the rest. You can find famous pieces of work from this era and pieces inspired by this movement all over the world today. I don’t just mean exhibitions and museums, but art that came as a result of America and the CIA’s initiative are displayed on walls as decoration in people’s homes, offices and referenced in popular culture.
Using art as a weapon to combat a nation sounds like a crazy idea, and it was, but the CIA pulled it off. It was only a rumour for many years in the art community until the CIA lifted the lid on the whole operation that led the movement to be “play an enormous role in the Cold War”.
That’s right. The art in your homes, or at your friend’s or family’s homes could be more than just a decorative piece. They could be a symbol of freedom. So next time you get dragged to an exhibition or someone shows off a newly purchased painting to you, just remember that could well be more than just blobs of paint literally thrown at a canvas.
Anyone who has bought or rented a new house or apartment in recent years will know that they have the exact same home as their neighbour above them, next door to them and below them. These mass produced homes are built based on affordability which is great for young couples and first time buyers. However, people have an innate desire to make their home personal to them, we having being doing it for many thousands of years.
Starting with simple hand print cave drawings fourteen thousand years ago and ending with the grand palaces, stately homes and modern super apartments, people have been adding their personalities to their homes since before they had doors or windows. Decoration is a part of the human desire to be creative, to display and to stand out from the crowd. It’s this innate need that drives us to paint our walls a certain colour, buy specific furniture and hang paintings or pictures throughout the house.
Wall art is a great way to add personality to you house, making it a home and displaying a part of yourself on the walls. Many people now buy wall art online as it is the most affordable way of owning specific or unique art.
Canvas prints have given art to the world like never before. At no time in history has art been as affordable as it is now or the range of art so vast. The catalogue of different styles ranges from vintage movie posters, abstract art, Banksy, music art and much more.
At Blue Horizon Prints the catalogue of art is large and varied, you are sure to find a piece of canvas art that suits you and your home. If you’re looking to send a piece of wall art as a gift then you will find it there.
If you are looking for something more personal then you could send them a favourite photograph and have it blown up and placed on a high quality canvas. The prints are all on 100% cotton canvas and are made by specialists.
There was a time when art was the privilege of the wealthy, now with canvas prints and wall art you can have a piece of art that you love for a price that you can afford.
Check out the great range of prints and give your home some of your personality.
Buying modern art is fun but not always easy because there are different styles to choose from together with individual pieces from artists that are following no style at all.
As with anything, if you are a complete novice when it comes to modern art you probably don’t know the different styles that are out there. Take some time to visit local art galleries or art fairs that are displaying contemporary art so you get a feel for the different styles. This can be quite eye opening because a painting that you might have really liked before, you might not like now just because you have seen a new range of styles.
This can also be really useful in developing your tastes for modern art, you might find a style that resonates with you and you think would fit well in your home.
If you want to continue to enjoy the art in your home over many years it is often a good idea not to be swayed by current trends in art. Don’t choose a piece just because it’s trendy because in a few years when it’s no longer in fashion you might not like it any more. Choose a piece of art because you really like it yourself. This can often be quite personal, so remember this when you are looking at what’s out there.
There are different styles of modern art such as Conceptual Art, Cubism or Pop Art but also art that isn’t anything, it’s just inspiration from an artist that can’t be classified as anything. If you are looking to build up a large collection you might want to section part of your collection by it’s style and type or you just might want to know what period your art is from so you are able to explain to people when they ask.
Modern art is abstract
The fact that modern art is abstract means that when you are choosing it for your home you often don’t have to be too fussy. Modern art will fit in surprisingly well with many interior decor styles and can actually compliment even traditional styles.
Choose the right art for where it is going to go
If you have found a particularly striking piece that you think will fit in well with your home, think about how it will hang on your wall. If you want the painting to have a visual impact make sure that it has space around it on the wall. If a painting has space around it, it will seem more prominent and be more striking.
Is the space light or dark?
If you are placing the art on a dark wall a bright piece is often not the best type of painting. Contrary to what you might think, the bright piece probably won’t lighten up an area it will just look out of place. Whereas a dark painting won’t be shown off well if there is a lot of direct sunlight on it. Before you buy the art, plan where it is going to go because some of the best art work won’t look good if it’s hung in the wrong place.
Use your imagination
Before you buy the art, imagine it in your home. See it in on the wall you think it should be placed in your mind. Imagine living with it, going past it every day and think of it being there in years to come. This will enable you to feel what the art will be like in your home. If you take time to do this and do it over a period of a few days you will get a clearer idea about whether you are going to like the painting or not.
This article was written by Clarendon who are a London based company that have significant experience in arranging the decor of serviced apartments.