One of the weirdest CIA operations of all time came in the 1950s, when the agency devoted a chunk of internal resources into spreading… Abstract Expressionism. The International Operations Division was a CIA wing designed to spread the good word of American culture. They funded jazz, animated films, and, astoundingly, modern art. Abstract Expressionism was a vigorous, exciting counterpart to the stolid figures of Socialist Realism, and the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom staged multiple exhibitions of painters like Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell. How effective this was in the war against Communism is anybody’s guess.
Photo credit: Flickr user nglklm via Creative Commons.