The Cold War: Art and Politics

The Cold War: Art and Politics

After World War II, Latin America enjoyed a period of relative economic prosperity, which lasted until the mid 1950s. As the conditions for economic growth became more elusive and social instability increased, leftist-leaning groups became active throughout Latin America.

The Cuban Revolution was a key victory for left-leaning politics, and was initially supported by leading Latin American intellectuals. As the Cold War unfolded, however, the United States viewed these developments in Latin America with great anxiety and responded with a policy known as the Alliance for Progress in order to extend North American influence throughout the region. During the 1960s, there was a dramatic increase of inter-American political, economic, and cultural exchanges, but a promise of economic development was never realized. By the end of the decade, escalating social unrest was ruthlessly repressed by military dictatorships that controlled the region until the mid 1980s.

Image depicts a brown postcard with six green Argentinian stamps, in two rows of three. The stamps are cancelled with a large circular stamp that reads "Mail Artwork." Attached to the card via a length of string is an off-white tag that reads "correspondencia."

Period of the Military Dictatorships (1960s-1980s)

As social unrest escalated throughout Latin America, military dictatorships took control throughout South America until the mid 1980s. During this time, many artists were forced into internal and external exile in order to survive. They developed conceptualist strategies to bypass censorship and comment on the terrifying events taking place, relying on viewers to read between the lines and understand their messages.
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Image of the word "Colombia" in white script on a red background. The script deliberately echoes the "Coca-Cola" font.

Radicalization of the Politics (1960s-early 1970s)

As the United States pursued an interventionist foreign policy and turned its focus to Asia and Vietnam, relations with Latin America grew progressively terse. Unable to resolve a deepening economic crises, many governments in the area faced violent confrontations with radicalized groups who felt politically disenfranchised. During this time, artists addressed the increasing sense of social alienation, and anti-imperialist anxieties led to a questioning of foreign models in artistic works.
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The image depicts a blue and green diamond centered in the middle of a white field. The diamond has a green background, bisected by numerous parallel blue lines.

Inter-American relations and the Cuban Revolution (1960s)

In the late 1950s, Latin America entered a period of economic crisis. Social struggles aligned with the ideological conflict of
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The image depicts a stainless steel ribbon wound into several interconnecting loops.

Post-war historical/economic context (1950s)

Latin America was spared the widespread destruction of World War II. After the war ended, many nations in the region
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