Three works from the ongoing series Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect and Modern Entanglements, U.S. Interventions, by Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, are included in the book Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War. The book is the outcome of several years of historical research by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) curatorial team for the homonymous exhibition presented in 2017.
Balteo-Yazbeck ongoing series, Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect, was initiated in 2007 and later presented in collaboration with art historian Media Farzin in 2009. For the 2017 exhibition at the HKW, the installation The stijl – de steal, 2014-2017, was first exhibited and documented. Balteo-Yazbeck's installation investigates the ideas and early impulses behind Barnett Newman's Who is Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue IV; arguably his last major painting. The six meters long painting has been at Germany's Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin for almost four decades and the files regarding its acquisition, loan, attack and restoration are not available to the public.
The book presents 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. The publication also presents more than thirty newly commissioned contributions by other contemporary artists and scholars.
Installation view at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2017