In this readable and highly original book, John J. Curley presents the first synthetic account of global art during the Cold War. Through a careful examination of artworks drawn from America, Europe, Russia and Asia, he demonstrates the inextricable nature of art and politics in this contentious period. He dismantles the usual narrative of American abstract painting versus figurative Soviet Socialist Realism to reveal a much more nuanced, contradictory and ambivalent picture of art making, in which the objects themselves, like spies, dissembled, housed and managed ideological differences.
“Throughout these tumultuous decades, artists have sought to express themselves in harrowing circumstances. John J. Curley provides a lucid summary of the era and unique insights into famous and unknown artists.” – NY Journal of Books
“In shifting our understanding of Cold War art away from easy binaries (communism versus capitalism; American Abstraction versus Socialist Realism) and towards nuance and complexity, Global Art and the Cold War offers an important and timely examination of how art helped shape history in the mid-to-late twentieth-century.” – Lydia Pyne for Hyperallergic
“With this book, John J. Curley confirms his reputation as the pre-eminent historian of the visual arts during the Cold War. Clearly written, generously illustrated, and imaginatively conceived, Global Art and the Cold War extends traditional boundaries of that subject into the also dangerous realms of imagination, representation, and creative survival. Not to be missed.” – Pulitzer-Prize winning Cold War Historian John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University
“It is not often that one comes across a book on contemporary, or near contemporary, art that shifts one’s view of what it is, how it has developed, and that direction those developments are likely to take in future. Here, however, is one such book…” – Edward Lucie-Smith, in Artlyst, the UK’s leading art information website
“This ambitious study examines how the geopolitical realities of the Cold War shaped late-20th-century art…Cold War researchers have not entirely ignored the arts, but now Curley (Wake Forest Univ.)…brings the analytical and interpretative skills of an art historian to the discussion…The book abounds with provocative insights…” – CHOICE Reviews
“Global Art and the Cold War is a vigilant re-contextualization of Cold War art…This ambitious work succeeds as a narrative re-evaluation of Cold War art…is refreshingly un-alarmist yet consistently surprising. It is a recommended resource for librarians whose patrons study twentieth-century global art and politics, especially as a research aid for academic libraries.” – Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)