Leang Seckon: After the Khmer Rouge

On 7 January 1979, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia – sweeping from power the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge. While both were ostensibly Communist states, relations between these neighbours had dramatically deteriorated due to the stream of Cambodian refugees into Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge’s repeated forays into border towns, where residents were massacred. The Vietnamese occupation would last for another ten years. Yet … Continue reading Leang Seckon: After the Khmer Rouge

Sculpture for Soviet Domestic Enemy No.1

For two weeks in November 1988, Soviet nuclear physicist and activist Andrei Sakharov visited the United States. It was a triumphant moment near the end of the life of a man who both pioneered nuclear technology and campaigned to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war. From 1948, Andrei Sakharov had participated in the Soviet atomic bomb project, going on to mastermind the development of thermonuclear … Continue reading Sculpture for Soviet Domestic Enemy No.1

The Billboard Art of Revolutionary Grenada

The dreams of the Grenada Revolution were crushed in October 1983 by a quick succession of dramatic coups, starting with a power struggle between competing factions of the People’s Revolutionary Government. Maurice Bishop, the popular leader of the 1979 socialist revolution and subsequent Prime Minister, was first placed under house arrest, after a takeover by his […]

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The Most Hated Statue in Greece

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Greek Civil War in October 1949. The conflict between monarchists and communists erupted soon after the end of the country’s occupation during World War II left a power vacuum at the heart of the birthplace of democracy. Although Stalin chose not to support the insurgents, the conflict is considered to be the first proxy … Continue reading The Most Hated Statue in Greece

When the Berlin Wall Came Down in Iceland

Since the night the wall came down – in November 1989 – pieces of the Berlin Wall have travelled far and wide. Over forty countries now host sections of the wall, from Italy and the Vatican to Singapore and South Africa. Along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, several sections face out onto the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in an installation arranged by the … Continue reading When the Berlin Wall Came Down in Iceland

Found Art of the Yom Kippur War

For three weeks in October 1973, Egypt and Syria spearheaded military action against Israel, aimed at reoccupying territory lost during the Six-Day War of 1967. The Yom Kippur War soon escalated from a regional squabble to a potentially catastrophic moment in the Cold War, as the United States’ support of Israel brought it into a confrontation with the USSR, which was supplying arms to the … Continue reading Found Art of the Yom Kippur War

The Not-so-Secret Art of the CIA

The above photograph, by American artist Taryn Simon, appears innocuous, even banal, at first. It shows two modern paintings hanging on bare white walls, cordoned off by limp rope barriers, while harsh fluorescent ceiling lights cause their reflection to bounce off the glossy laminate floor. But the photograph instantly appears more enticing and enigmatic when one reads the caption, indicating that it was taken at … Continue reading The Not-so-Secret Art of the CIA