Friday, 31 May 2013

The Congress for Cultural Freedom

From 1950 onwards, the CIA secretly funded 'The Congress for Cultural Freedom" and had a significance on the direction (and costs and values) for modern and abstract art. The historical details are now available on the official CIA website, although I discovered this second hand from work by comic artist Jeffrey Lewis. As an organisation, it reminded me of the power and unusual activities of authentic boards, such as the Andy Warhol Authentication Board who (at lest up until 2012) made decisions about the "presence of the artist" (Thompson 2008 p83) rather than the more simplistic 'real' or 'fake' choice , and the work of Pest Control (reviewed by Ellisworth-Jones 2012 when he went about following the money behind Banksy) ironically proving a fake £10 (or not' fake' but another version of quantitative easing?) as proof of authenticity of work by Banksy. Yet another collection of  organisations pushing their own cultural hegemony and placing value on the things that they value. Politics and art eh!!

References: Thompson, Don (2008) The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art and Auction Houses (Aurum, London).  Ellisworth-Jones, Will (2012) Banksy: The Man behind the Wall (Aurum, London).