The Ambiguous Art of Post-Revolutionary Cuba

The Cuban Revolution came to an end in January 1959, as the guerrilla revolt led by Fidel Castro swept from power the US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. The subsequent transformation of the Caribbean island into a Communist state, aligned with the Soviet Union, would give rise to an uneasy relationship between Cuba and the United States that exists to this day, and which in the 1960s … Continue reading The Ambiguous Art of Post-Revolutionary Cuba

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

Featured Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

A worthy analysis of the impact of the Cold War on Robert Rauschenberg warrants more than a single post. The American pop artist frequently chronicled major geopolitical events resulting from the clash between competing superpowers, as well as commenting on the daily tensions of life in the shadow of the mushroom cloud. Perhaps the most obvious is his series of prints entitled Soviet/American Array, produced … Continue reading Featured Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

Jasper Johns’ Un-American Flag

As the United States of America celebrates Independence Day, the country drapes itself in the red, white and blue of the American flag. As a potent symbol of national pride and ‘Americanness’, the flag became a recurrent subject in the work of one Cold War painter as he questioned his response to political events. Jasper Johns was part of a new wave of young American … Continue reading Jasper Johns’ Un-American Flag

Featured Artist: Peter Saul

Never afraid to confront the less salubrious aspects of American society, painter Peter Saul has made a career of challenging the boundaries of taste. Born in San Francisco in 1934, Saul was one of the pioneers of Pop Art and has often incorporated Cold War themes into his canvases. His distinctive style blends Surrealism and Expressionism with a psychedelic colour palette. Like a modern-day Hieronymus … Continue reading Featured Artist: Peter Saul

Featured Artist: Leonhard Lapin

Once a dissident rejected by the state, Leonhard Lapin is now considered one of the most important modern artists in his native Estonia. Born 1947 in what was the Estonian SSR, Lapin trained as an architect but soon began to also create paintings, sculpture and graphics. In the 1960s and ’70s his political views deeply affected both his pioneering work as an architect of the ‘Tallinn … Continue reading Featured Artist: Leonhard Lapin

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