Recommended: Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

A scantily-clad femme fatale, a pristinely-coiffed hero, and an array of imaginatively-evil baddies. Throw in some guns and gadgets and you have the perfect recipe for a spy thriller. Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is a multidimensional project dedicated to preserving and sharing the graphic art and forgotten spy films of Cold War Europe. Amassed by creator and curator Richard Rhys Davies, the collection now runs … Continue reading Recommended: Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

Recommended: Cold

This month I have decided to develop the monthly Recommended Read strand of ESPIONART into a broader, more personal section renamed Recommended. Instead of focusing on (only) Cold War art-related books, each month I will suggest something that I believe will be of interest to the Cold War art enthusiast. ________ Top of my list of recommendations is the wonderful Victoria Dougherty and her blog … Continue reading Recommended: Cold

Recommended Read: Parting the Curtain

Walter L. Hixson. Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945–1961. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Despite its slim appearance, Parting the Curtain is a detailed and informative read. Its concise format makes it a good starting point for readers new to the topic of Cold War culture and the book provides a helpful overview of the central themes and stories. Hixson focuses … Continue reading Recommended Read: Parting the Curtain

Recommended Read: A Conspiracy of Images

John J. Curley. A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and the Art of the Cold War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. In the early Cold War, grainy photographic images were published daily in newspapers and magazines to warn an increasingly fearful Western public of the dangers of the conflict. A new book considers how this media imagery penetrated the work of visual artists, focusing … Continue reading Recommended Read: A Conspiracy of Images

Recommended Read: Glasnost: Soviet Non-Conformist Art from the 1980s

Joseph Backstein, Ekaterina Degot and Boris Groys. Glasnost: Soviet Non-Conformist Art from the 1980s. London: Haunch of Venison, 2010. In 2010 the (sadly missed) Haunch of Venison gallery in London presented a rare survey of paintings, sculptures and photographs by ‘unofficial’ Soviet artists, working just prior to the end of the Cold War. Glasnost: Soviet Non-Conformist Art from the 1980s introduced visitors to the spirited movements and … Continue reading Recommended Read: Glasnost: Soviet Non-Conformist Art from the 1980s

Recommended Read: Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale

Nancy Jachec. Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale, 1948–64: Italy and the Idea of Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008. The 55th Venice Biennale closes later this month, bringing to an end another spectacular exposition of current trends in international contemporary art. The Biennale underwent a 6-year hiatus during World War II before resuming in 1948, just as the Cold War was starting to … Continue reading Recommended Read: Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale

Recommended Read: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion

David Welch. Propaganda: Power and Persuasion. London: British Library Publishing, 2013. Although the British Library’s fascinating exploration of Propaganda: Power and Persuasion closed last month in exhibition form, the eponymous catalogue is still available to introduce people to this elusive term which has dominated so much of human experience over the last century. Authored by David Welch, Professor of Modern History at the University of … Continue reading Recommended Read: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion

Recommended Read: How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art

Serge Guilbaut. How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom and the Cold War. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. In the thirty years since it was first published, Serge Guilbaut’s account of how Cold War ideology shaped the visual arts still stands as the best book in its field. French-born Guilbaut begins his tale in Paris … Continue reading Recommended Read: How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art

Recommended Read: The Ransom of Russian Art

John McPhee. The Ransom of Russian Art. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994. This intriguing little paperback tells the remarkable story of Norton T. Dodge, the American economics professor who smuggled paintings by ‘nonconformist’ artists out of the Soviet Union in the 1960s and ’70s. Written in a colloquial style by acclaimed journalist, John McPhee, the book includes colour reproductions of key artworks to give … Continue reading Recommended Read: The Ransom of Russian Art

Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970

David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds.). Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970. London: V&A Publishing, 2008. The V&A’s outstanding exhibition Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970 may be a thing of the past, but the exhibition catalogue lives on! In this glossy tome, design historians David Crowley and Jane Pavitt chronicle the effect of the Cold War on culture, from architecture and film to cars and kitchens. It’s a … Continue reading Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970