Modern art, including Abstract Expressionism, was never anything more than government-funded bullshit.
There’s little more divisive than modern art—most take a staunch “brilliance” or “bullshit” stance. So it should come as a surprise that the straight-laced feds at the CIA leaned toward the former camp—or at least saw it as brilliantly exploitable in the psychological war against the Soviets. Reports from former agents acknowledge what was always a tall tale in the art world—that CIA spooks floated pioneering artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Motherwell, to drop an aesthetic nuke on Communism. What seemed like natural popularity of certain artists was, in part, actually a deliberate attempt at psychological warfare, backed by the US government.
But why modern art? At the time period in question—the 1950s and 60s—the artistic style of the moment was Abstract Expressionism. Abstract Expressionism (or AbEx, if you want to impress people at your next snooty cocktail party) stood for, above all else, self expression. Radically so….
The CIA wanted this art to be global. So it dumped millions upon millions of dollars to be secret patrons of art world darlings like Pollock. Fake foundations, used as CIA slush funds, sponsored international exhibitions.
It’s not art. It’s propaganda, the so-called artists were government whores, and the high art cognoscenti were complete suckers.
You’re not a philistine for preferring Truth and Beauty to CIA propaganda and creative prostitution.