Commemorating Bomber Command

In an unprepossessing corner of London’s Green Park – an oasis of tranquillity squeezed between the busy thoroughfare of Piccadilly and the grandeur of Buckingham Palace – stands an imposing neo-classical stone structure. This is the Bomber Command Memorial, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. The memorial took so long to be realised in large part due to the ongoing controversy about the magnitude of … Continue reading Commemorating Bomber Command

John Keane, Gulf War Artist

Soon after the start of the Gulf War on 2 August 1990, painter and photographer John Keane was invited by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London to be Britain’s official war artist for this new conflict, forged in the disintegration of the Cold War. At first refused accreditation by a suspicious Ministry of Defence, due to his record of painting an unflattering portrait of war, the 36-year-old Keane eventually … Continue reading John Keane, Gulf War Artist

Protecting Britain’s Art in a Nuclear War

A recent revelation has revived press interest in the UK government’s plans to save the nation’s art collection in the event of nuclear war. The plans were first drafted in the early 1960s, in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Operation Methodical was drawn up to protect paintings including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Monet’s Water Lilies and The Hay Wain by Constable. It was intended … Continue reading Protecting Britain’s Art in a Nuclear War

Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Recently the public got its first glance inside Albania’s most important Cold War era bunker, located just outside the Albanian capital of Tirana. Built 100m below ground between 1972 and 1978, the top secret complex boasts 106 rooms over five storeys. It also features a bedroom with red satin sheets for former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, as the bunker was intended to house the government … Continue reading Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

The Saatchi Gallery in London seeks to build on its successful exhibitions of recent Russian and Chinese art – including 2008’s The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art and 2012’s Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art, 1960–80s – with a show that combines the two. While the title of Post Pop: East Meets West suggests the two sides of the former iron curtain joining in a shared … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

Painting the Assassination of JFK

The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963 had a profound effect on the history of the Cold War. At once suspicions abounded that the murder was the result of a conspiracy, a theory that is still held to by the majority of American citizens. The news that Kennedy’s suspected killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a communist who had defected to the Soviet … Continue reading Painting the Assassination of JFK

What & Where: Oxford’s Military Murals

What: Murals by servicemen of the United States Air Force Where: RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, UK (now closed) Oxford Archaeology recently announced the launch of a project to record the Cold War paintings on the internal walls of former airbase, RAF Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire. The majority of the artwork was created by American servicemen, who were stationed there between 1950 and 1991. The soldiers … Continue reading What & Where: Oxford’s Military Murals