An examination of the use of modernism in the twentieth-century battle for US hegemony, through the activities of the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom.
Parapolitics confronts the contemporary fate of intellectual autonomy and artistic freedom by revisiting the use of modernism in the twentieth-century battle for US hegemony. It builds on a major exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2017-18) that took as its starting point the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF)-an organization covertly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency in order to steer the Left away from its remaining commitment to communism. Paying particular attention to CCF activities in the non-European world during a period of decolonization and the Civil Rights Movement, Parapolitics assembles archival documentation from five continents alongside a selection of historical artworks to explore the context in which artists negotiated the framing and meaning of their work. A rich reference book for future researchers and everybody interested in the legacy of modernism, the publication also presents more than thirty newly commissioned contributions by contemporary artists and scholars.