- The Congress for Cultural Freedom (the CIA front) threw its weight behind abstract painting, over representational or realist aesthetics, in an explicit political act. ... The CIA associated apolitical artists and art with freedom. This was directed toward neutralizing the artists on the European left. The irony, of course, was that the apolitical posturing was only for left-wing consumption.
That's now conspiracy fact. So here's a conspiracy theory. In the 1960s, American universities were brimming over with students taking practial political action to change their society. In the '80s and '90s, there were still plenty of students who were talking about changing society, uprooting the establishment and exposing the roots of political power. But they thought that they were doing it by hanging out in coffeehouses late at night, talking to each other about "Theory" (mysteriously not a theory of anything, just "Theory") in jargon that was completely impenetrable to anyone who hadn't taken the same three years of course work they had. And assuring each other that by carrying on these conversations, they were launching a strong and vital challenge at an entrenched patriarchical and exploitative social structure that had no reason to even be aware of them.
So, who was paying their professors?
MacLeod post through more other blogs than I can shake a stick at...