art, c.i.a.


Was Jackson Pollock a weapon in the Cold War? There is a lot of barbed wire surrounding that question. The Cold War had battlegrounds all over the world, and it was a hot enough war in some of them, but in the main battleground, Western Europe, it was a war for hearts and minds—an idea war, an image war, a propaganda war. Global combat on these terms was the policy of the American government. There was no secret about the policy, and most of its enactments—such as the Fulbright Program, which was established in 1946—were carried out in broad daylight and to public acclaim. But some were carefully shrouded, made to appear the work of individuals and institutions acting on their own, without government sponsorship, as was the case with the magazine Encounter, which was published in London and contributed to by prominent American and European intellectuals, and which was revealed, in 1967, to be a creature of the C.I.A.

more from Menand in the New Yorker here.