Feb
21
2015

Modern Art or CIA Weapon?

Was Art Weaponized During the Cold War?

It has been rumored for years, but recently its been proven that the CIA used artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning's art were exploited as propaganda for the U.S. during the Cold War with Russia.

Symbol of American Expression or CIA weapon?

Although it seems unlikely, the modern art movement was used heavily against the powers of the U.S.S.R. as a weapon of free expression against oppression. Although originally disliked among many Americans including President Harry S. Truman who described modern art as "If that's art, then I'm a hottentot ( a member of the Khoekhoe group of peoples.)", Modern art was the artistic trend of the 50's and 60's. Members of the FBI such as J Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy had embarrassed America with it's watch over free thinking, accusing many artists of being communists and a denunciation of everything avant-garde.

The U.S. and FBI were faced with a crisis, so the CIA were appointed to be the saviors of free speech. Although the CIA were first intimidated by this role as the protectors of free speech and modern art and music, it made sense that they could use this form of art as a weapon of propaganda to fight the ways of communism. The CIA pushed the creators of "modern art" to greatness with a long leash of what they would help advertise to help America be seen as a country that had true freedom.

 

This Rothko toured around Europe to help share democracy's ideals.

The CIA even sponsored art exhibitions and tours in Europe during the 1950s such as "The New American Painting" exhibition that toured every European country in 1958-1959. Even Millionaire Nelson Rockefeller was called in to help with paying for the movement since he had helped fund the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Overall, the avant-garde movement was a large success overseas as a movement in part to the CIA, who helped showcase it. The art, which we all now appreciate, helped share America's ideals of free speech and spread the idea of what art can be to many different nations. Did it help bring down the U.S.S.R? Only the first hand accounts of Europeans can say whether it helped or not, but we like to think that free speech and artistic expression are what makes us who we are today.

Feb
19
2015

Please Do Touch -New Exhibit Allows the Blind to Touch Famous Pieces of Art

Madrid's Prado Museum Introduces Unique Art Exhibition for the Blind

Guests feel a textured version of Velazquez's "The Triumph of Baccus" (image courtesy of Museo Nacional Del Prado)

The Museo Nacional Del Prado (Madrid, Spain) opened its first exhibit for the sight impaired recently which allows people to touch recreated famous classical masterpieces. For the visually impaired, this is one of the first exhibits of its kind to cater to the audience with the intention of allowing all people sighted and non-sighted to experience famous paintings. It also might be one of the first exhibits where "touching the art" is actually encouraged in a fine art museum!

The exhibit, titled "Hoy Toca el Prado" opened January 20th and features famous works such as Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and El Greco's El caballero de la mano en el pecho. However, you wont find any originals in this exhibit, all paintings have been recreated with special textures so that people can now feel how the paintings look. Each painting has been "enhanced" using sophisticated 3D printing techniques to give certain fabrics, skins, hairs and other elements unique and identifiable textures.  

No bullet proof glass here. Touch this version of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa all you want! (image courtesy of Museo Nacional Del Prado)

So far, the exhibit has received positive revues with sight impaired patrons excited that the exhibition is catering to them and allowing them to experience art in a new and accessible way. "Hoy Toca el Prado" also features audioguides and texts in braille for its informational materials.

And while the exhibit should appeal to the museum's sighted guests with its own unique merits, the museum is also offering opaque glasses so that everyone can experience the exhibit on a level footing. 


Feb
17
2015

Share Your Valentines Day Art with Us and Win

Still Time to Enter Jerry's 2015 Valentines Day Art Contest

 

 Although Valentine's Day may be over, our 2015 Valentine's Day Art Contest is still going! We hope that all of our artist friends made the decision to give art- the gift that lasts forever, to their loved ones this V-Day. 

Now we hope that you share it with us and the rest of the artist community and enter for the chance to win an eGift Card to Jerry's Artarama. The contest is still open until February 22nd, 2015.

Using whichever medium you desire, make and share a piece of art that represents your love, memories or affection for another person (or even your pet).  Upload an image of it and share it on our contest page. We'll share it in a special gallery on our contest page and then we'll let our fans vote for the best piece of art. If your entry get chosen you can win up to a $150 eGift Card. Here's our prize breakdown:

First Place: $150 eGift Card to Jerry's Artarama

Second Place: $75 eGift Card to Jerry's Artarama

Third Place: $25 eGift Card to Jerry's Artarama

Enter through Feb. 22nd, then come back to vote for the art that inspires you the most from Feb. 23rd-26th. We'll announce the winners on Feb. 27th.

 

So enter while there's still time and check out our contest page to see other's entries. Maybe you'll find something that inspires you! 

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