The Cold War Arts Fighting the Reds:Joseph McCarthy

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1 The Cold War Arts Fighting the Reds:Joseph McCarthy

2 The Cold War The two sides and their differences: military, economic, but also cultural. The US tried to show that American intelligentsia enjoyed more freedom of action as opposed to Stalinism. The US needed to show the rest of the world that together with being an economic, political and military superpower, it was also culturally meaningful. Culture, of course, could become a powerful ideological weapon. If Paris had been the center of the world during the two World Wars, the cultural reawakening shifts to New York

3 New York would become the center of the artistic world. With New York came an specifically American postwar art Movement, Abstract Expressionism. After the horror of the war Artists gave up the idea of a mimetic representation of the real, and began to explore color and shapes. As opposed to the social art of the post-depression years, this new art movement did not have a particular ideological valence. It intended to be equidistant from left and right.

4 Abstract Expressionism ( ) World War II brought many Surrealists from Europe to America. Psychic automatism, the aspect of Surrealism in which the conscious mind is surpassed and the free flow of images is released, was the basis of Abstract Expressionism. Unlike Surrealism, the imagery of Abstract Expressionism was nonobjective and the application of the paint represented the feelings or explosive energy of the painter. The action painters used dynamic gesturely motions such as splashing or dripping to apply the paint in an uninhibited, unplanned manner. The works became large in scale to decrease limitations on the artist and allow for the freeswinging motion of the arm.

5 Jackson Pollock Pollock represents one of the streams of Expressionism, namely Action painting. Painting became an irrational, instinctive, and impusive art form. Number 1 (Lavender Mist)

6 Number 8

7 The questions Pollock s painting raises: Where are the characters? What is the motif? What happened to the mimetic side of painting?

8 Mark Rothko Willem de Kooning

9

10 The representation of objects would later return with Pop Art ( ) The subjects are popular figures or everyday objects, like soup cans or the American flag. Pop Art elevated mundane objects to art status Andy Warhol

11 Warhol and Pop Art John McHale originally coined the term "Pop art" in 1954

12 What about the Soup?? Warhol had a very positive view of ordinary culture and felt the Abstract Impressionists had taken great pains to ignore the splendor of modernity. The Campbell's Soup Can series, along with his other series, provided him a chance to express his positive view of modern culture.

13 How far did the Soup go? The original Campbell's Soup Cans is a part of the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. A portrait named Campbell's Soup Cans II is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL.

14 Abstract Art and Censorship The McCarthy era after World War II was a time of extreme Artistic censorship in the United States. Since the subject matter was often totally abstract it became a safe strategy for artists to pursue this style. Abstract Art could be seen as apolitical. Or if the art was political, the message was largely for the insiders.

15 BACKGROUND: Communism was a growing concern in the United States. This concern was worsened by the actions of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the fall of China to the Maoists, the Soviets' development of the atomic bomb, as well as other developments. With this background, Senator McCarthy claimed that Communists where shaping the policies of the State Department and the Government at large. The term the term "McCarthyism" was coined by Washington Post cartoonist Herbert Block. Block and other opponents of McCarthy and his methods used the word as a synonym for baseless defamation and mudslinging.

16 Later, it would be embraced by McCarthy and some of his Supporters: "McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled," McCarthy said in a 1952 speech, and later that year he published a book entitled McCarthyism: The Fight for America.

17 His obsessions: Everything that smelled of Communism: This implied the army (ill-fated), authors as well as books. The State Department bowed to McCarthy andordered its overseas librarians to remove from their shelves "material by any controversial persons, Communists, fellow travelers, etc." Some libraries actually burned the newly-forbidden books. Shortly after this, in one of his carefully oblique public criticisms of McCarthy, President Eisenhower urged Americans: "Don't join the book burners. [ ] Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book."[28]

18 Dealings with the democratic and Republican administrations There was considerable enmity between McCarthy and Truman throughout the time they were both in office. McCarthy sought to characterize Truman and the Democratic party as soft on or even in league with the Communists, referring to "twenty years of treason" on the part of the Democrats. Truman, in turn, once referred to McCarthy as "the best asset the Kremlin has,"

19 Those who expected that party loyalty would cause McCarthy to tone down his accusations of Communists being harbored within the government were soon disappointed. Eisenhower had never been an admirer of McCarthy, and their relationship became more hostile once Eisenhower was in office in 1952.

20 Where did his power come from? After winning re-election in 1952, McCarthy, Senator from Wisconsin, became chairman of the Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, a position he used to launch many of his investigations of government officials and agencies. Everybody was suspicious of Anti-American activities.

21 McCarthyism: A dangerous weapon This witch-hunt and anti-communist hysteria became known as McCarthyism. Some left-wing artists and intellectuals were unwilling to live in this type of society and people such as, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Chester Himes went to live and work in Europe. Anyone could be accused of being a Soviet spy McCarthyism was mainly used against Democrats associated with the New Deal policies introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Harry S. Truman and members of his Democratic administration were accused of being soft on communism. Truman was portrayed as a dangerous liberal and McCarthy's campaign helped the Republican candidate, Dwight Eisenhower, win the presidential election in 1952.

22 The case of Edward Murrow, See It Now Murrow launched one of of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods in an episode of the TV documentary series See it Now, which was broadcast on March 9, The Murrow report, together with the televised army-mccarthy hearings of the same year, were the major causes of a nationwide popular opinion backlash against McCarthy, in part because for the first time his statements were being publicly challenged by news figures McCarthy s downfall: On December 2nd, 1954, the Senate voted to "condemn" Senator Joseph McCarthy. After that, he decayed both physically and mentally, and became a heavy drinker. Basically, he drank himself to death.

23 Just burnt himself up Herb Block, Joseph McCarthy, Washington Post (4th March, 1954)

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