Under George W. Bush
United States government has manipulated facts and figures since the construction
of the republic. Through wars and treaties the US has come to control a
greater part of the world. Today this real estate is proving insignificant
in comparison to intellectual property. The minds of the world must be tapped
into and controlled before their remote villages can be controlled. This
attitude has run into various snags through out the US history. We are now
in one such period.
The post WWII societies severed the intellectual worlds and developed into the Cold War. A surprisingly long period of non-military action commenced. More or less the real estate stayed stable but the intellectual philosophical and even artistic practices entered into a period of imbalance. The US needed to do something about this dilemma and proposed a support of the outsiders. Many American artists had turned to Marxism and Communist beliefs after the Second World War. Even Left wing publications that managed to keep their heads above water financially had become easy targets for an aggressive government policy. Through financial support of various magazines favored by the artists a paradigm shift was initiated. Money corrupted the left wing thought and they became mesmerized and easily controlled. The content shifted ever so slightly to fit the intentions of the controlling government.
The key target was the Abstract Expressionists for they best were able to represent to the world the US preference to Capitalism regardless of their current personal political beliefs. These artists were chosen and supported to stand artistically against the Social Realism of the Soviet Union and further Eastern Block countries. The free spirit of these modernists and an art for art sake mentality was the perfect primer for the State Department’s policies. A cultural diplomacy was underway, money was invested and the shift of Art Markets went from Europe to New York never to return again.
Today’s art markets as well as today’s cultural policies are again in turmoil. Since the 9-11 attacks on New York the Bush Administration has needed a new diplomacy to capture the lost minds of the doubting world. Bombs have been dropped and two countries have been attacked and over-thrown yet the suspicions of the global audience have not been thwarted. So what can be done? Taking a page out of their successful US history the Bush Administration has concocted a new cultural diplomacy. This new program was a set of warnings and developments that currently lie almost invisible to the general public. However these media manipulations have begun to turn up almost immediately after Bush’s inauguration to his first term in 2001.
The Republican right wing machinery has been clogging the political landscape since the Reagan years. It took form in every mode of media available print radio and television till unique lecture series permeated the US landscape. Their strategy has won the White House 5 out of 7 times in the past 25 years.
Fear has been traded as a commodity in order to capture the power. Resistant to the tactics have been the big city intellectuals and artists. Therefore a new approach was needed and Art in America magazine proved to be the easiest of targets. It has little or no rural readership and landed itself monthly in the hands of the presumed enemy. Subliminal messaging could be carried out because the covers of the magazine were rarely viewed next to each other.
The success of this pilot program was the beginning of a new US policy to use art to shape the minds of the masses. Not unlike the use of the Abstract Expressionists the current administration has chosen a more banal art form historically seen as second class or kitsch. One can almost see it as a reversal of fortunes. A soviet styled message from the Cold War now properly fits as the consensus builder of the Iraq war. A slight twist of romanticism has been added in order to soften the edges of Social Realism. Artists depicting beauty have secretly been given an attention and exhibitions unheard of, or even impossible to imagine, a few short years before. This is obviously no longer the art for art sake from Greenberg’s modernists but simple statements in a structure not too unlike propaganda. We are being asked to be happy with pretty pictures void of any hint of critical thought. For an art style provoking thought may raise an eyebrow to the objective of the government.