Art of the East German Uprising

As Stalin grew ever more paranoid and unpredictable in the final months of his life, the ailing dictator demanded that Walter Ulbricht’s Communist government in the German Democratic Republic consolidate its control over the country by intensifying the process of Sovietization. In the summer of 1952, land confiscations, tax hikes, and a public pay freeze […]

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An Ambiguous Portrait of Stalin

Anyone who has watched the 2017 satirical movie The Death of Stalin will have a darkly humorous although roughly factual understanding of the events of 5 March 1953, when the Soviet dictator finally met his end. After 3 decades in which ‘Stalinism’ had increasingly dominated all aspects of political and cultural life in Russia and the wider Soviet Union, it would take the country many … Continue reading An Ambiguous Portrait of Stalin

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

Exhibition of the Month: Degenerate Art

While focusing on a notorious exhibition which pre-dated the Cold War by a decade, Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 at the Neue Galerie in New York helps to contextualise the complex politics of art that arose after World War II. Soon after the Nazi Party seized control in Germany, it launched a virulent attack on the visual arts. The drive to remove ‘subversive’ elements in German art culminated … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Degenerate Art

Stalin by Picasso (or Portrait of a Woman with Moustache)

The death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin on 5 March 1953 marked the end of the most violent and wretched years in the history of the USSR. As his iron grip on the lives of millions of Soviet citizens was loosened, his successor Nikita Khrushchev ushered in a period of De-Stalinization. Soon after Stalin’s death, the French poet Louis Aragon invited fellow communist Pablo Picasso … Continue reading Stalin by Picasso (or Portrait of a Woman with Moustache)

Uprising Against Hungary’s Sculpture

In the words of then-Senator John F. Kennedy, ‘October 23, 1956 is a day that will live forever in the annals of free men and nations. It was a day of courage, conscience and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly man’s eternally unquenchable desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required’. One of the most … Continue reading Uprising Against Hungary’s Sculpture