Tag Archives: modern

Modern Art Uncovers The Deceptive Practices of CIA

What if you found that someone used your life’s work, all those endless hours tirelessly sacrificed in the name of your occupation,to represent what it wasn’t originally meant to say? What would you do?   Would you merely shrug your shoulders? Or, protest as loudly as you could?   Worse, what if you never knew it happened?

It has happened. Mark Rothko was an artist in the same way vein as Jackson Pollack and the other great contemporaries. He was an artist in every sense of the world. He once proclaimed:

“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point.” ― Mark Rothko


But how bitter would he be today if he learned that his

This image is of a drawing, painting, print, or other two-dimensional work of art. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of works of art for critical commentary on the work in question, the artistic genre or technique of the work of art or the school to which the artist belongs qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

legacy is not the art that he loved creating so much? What if he had learned his art was a weapon of the Cold War?

According to an article in the Independent, in the 1950’s this is exactly what happened to him.   Rothko was a Jewish immigrant from Russia who became an important artist in the primitive style of art. Being a Russian living in America during in the 1950’s era of McCarthyism was not easy. But, being a popular artist made him the perfect target for the CIA.

The CIA created several shadow art foundations and worked with many of the wealthiest elitists in the country to make sure that art from the likes of Jason Pollack and Mark Rothko was not only seen but were to become incredibly famous.   Why? According to Saunders:

 “Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.”


“Abstract Expression- ism was the kind of art that made Socialist Realism look even more stylized and more rigid and confined than it was. And that relationship was exploited in some of the exhibitions.”

In an Saunders’s interview with Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA’s International Organisations Division he said :

“We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union. I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War.”


There is little doubt that painters like Pollack or Rothko would still be famous names even without the help of the CIA.  Help the artists never knew they were receiving. But there is strong sign that perhaps there Abstract Expression style may not have been as popular for as long as it’s been.

Being an artist, this whole subject has me wondering. When I look at my art, What if…?  Nah….

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Stop and Smell the Flowers


This is the flower that sings

In the garden.

That rises to bloom each spring

And disappears by summer breath.


A moment I spend

In the garden.

Tracing the still scent from browning leaves

Watching people walk and view.


What they missed

In the garden.

When even the squirrels

Take time to be…


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Why I Take Pictures of Machines

I love taking pictures of inanimate objects.  When I deal with picture of artificial objects, my ideas are very different.  I deal with fellow creators and their designs.  It’s that paradox of structure in a free-flowing universe that fascinates and motivates me. I want to see a brilliant engineering feat.

I investigate the way man has tried to copy nature to manipulate the environment around him. I want to capture not only his success of angles, glass and light, but also the monsters of machinery, the decay of forgotten days and failures we made in the hopes of out doing our surroundings.

Then I want to take that perfection or failure, that mathematical formulation of color, contrast, shape and form and place its picture on a wall.  Let the magic of the design dominate the room or blend in with the trappings of humanity that people find in their houses. When you pick an industrial or historical decor for your room or office, it only makes sense to work with art that highlights that aspect.

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2 Questions That Continue to Influence Photography and Interior Decorating

There are several concepts about the arts of Interior Decorating and Photography that when blended together and create the same questions about why things happen a certain way. While I can always come up with excuses as to why these problems exist, they always limit my ability to make sense of it all.  Here are 2.


1.  What is up with all the colors?  Under scientific laboratory experiments the CIE or International Commission on Illumination came up with a number around 2.38 million.  However, the world does not enjoy scientific laboratory conditions and each of us may see only a small fraction of this number due to lighting and even our eyes physical makeup. Some computer graphics cards and monitor combinations are capable of producing between over 9.8 million. Because my eyesight is different from your eyesight, how can we be sure that Sea Foam Green is actually Sea Foam Green?  Computers have done a lot to standardize this, using CMYK, RGB, Adobe 1998, and of course Pantone™ but it’s far from a perfect set.


2.  Do you use color photography or not?   When choosing to decorate a room in which the focus is a piece of art such as a painting, the common thread is to focus on the colors in the painting, matting and frame.  When I read any of the Interior decorating or designer magazines, OK,  I just look at the pictures,  I see that a majority of the photographic art displayed, if any, is only in black and white.  Why? Black and white as a photographic format is an awesome way to portray a sense of sophistication and power, but so is color.  Yet color photographs are largely ignored in the mainstream decoration and display.  Photographers, what makes a picture better in black and white than in color?  Decorators, how do you decide on just black and white as your decorating medium?

These are questions that probably have as many answers as there are people reading this.  Nonetheless, I’m interested in your thoughts.

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The Devil’s Rule of Thirds

The Devil was walking the streets of a large city with several of his demons.  He soon found a photographer busily engaged in taking a picture of a chess set in a local park.  The man was fumbling with a self-made see-thru plastic screen with a look of proud satisfaction on his face.  Drawn on the screen in black marker was a simple looking series of lines showing the image divided into thirds.

One of the demons quietly asked, “Master, what has this man done?”  The Devil, feeling generous, said,  “He has discovered a truth of his art.”  The demon snarled in fear, yelping, “Oh master, does man discovering truth not make you angry? Why not smite him!”  The Devil smiled and calmly replied,  “Because, it is just about now when they usually make a rule out of it.”


– A modern retelling of an ancient story.

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