Jump to content

Visual Arts EE help - Art and politics?

Recommended Posts

Hi! So I've decided to write my EE in visual arts. We have around 2 more weeks to make preliminary research questions or at least decide on an area of study. I'm from Russia and I've always been very interested in the time period around WWII - Cold War and I've recently found out about how CIA used the works of artists like Pollock, Kline and de Kooning as propaganda/weapon against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This spiked my interest greatly and I would love to write an extended essay about something that has to do with this. But I am not quite sure in what direction I should go and how I should formulate a research question.

(Also at that time, during the 1950s, there was a movement in the Soviet Union called "socialist realism" which also served as propaganda as it showed communism in a very good light and depicted the perfect communist society. This movement seemed quite interesting to me as well)

The ideas I've had so far are:

  • "How was art used as propaganda for/against communism during the Cold War?" The problem I have with this one is: 
    1. The time period "Cold War" is too vague, so I was thinking of focusing on perhaps the 1950s
    2. I am afraid that the essay with the question "how?" will become too narrative (is this correct? if so, what other word can I substitute it with?)
  • "How/to what extent did art reflect the politics/ideologies of the US and the Soviet Union during the 1950s?" 
    I feel like this option would be less narrative than the former, and allow me to focus more on the analysis of the artworks and the movements rather on actual politics. 
    Something that I could do for an essay with a RQ like this would be e.g. taking 1-2 artworks from the US and 1-2 artworks from the Soviet Union that were created in that time period. I could analyse them and see how they "fit" the artistic movements I am focusing on (abstract expressionism in the US and socialist realism in the USSR). And of course, I could also talk about how these movements reflected the politics/ideologies of the US/USSR at that time: abstract expressionism = freedom/democracy, socialist realism = restriction/totalitarian regime.

I am going to have the 1st meeting with my supervisor in around 2 weeks, but I'd love to hear opinions about all of this from you guys first. Should I continue brainstorming on this topic, or should I abandon it and go in a completely different direction? Which of the 2 "research questions" should I go for? Do you have any suggestions on how I could narrow the questions down further, or is the way they are right now more or less okay? Is an extended essay with such focus on politics a bad idea? Any input would be greatly appreciated! ^_^

Edited by myjn

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.