Cultural Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The US State, The Private Sector, and Modern Art in South America 1940-1943

Olga Ulloa-Herrera

Major Professor: Michele Greet, PhD, Department of History and Art History

Committee Members: Paul Smith, Ellen Todd

Johnson Center, #240A
April 23, 2014, 01:00 PM to 10:00 AM

Abstract:

This dissertation examines the role of modern art as a strategic tool of national defense during an unprecedented moment in U.S. history in which the U.S. State and the private sector converged to develop an economic and cultural war preparedness program in South America.  By taking modern art as a cultural object, this project studies the intersections of modernity, capitalism, power relations and culture by looking at the activities of the Art Section of the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics (OCCCRBAR) and its successor the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CI-AA). The dissertation argues that the defense interventions of the United States in South America at this particular moment—with shifts in diplomacy, power, hegemony, and world order—laid out the foundation for a regionalization and industrial modernist infrastructure.  As such, these interventions established early cultural flows and networks of commerce, transportation, communication for an American ideology, cultural industries and visual culture later to be fully realized with the expansion of the Americanization of culture in contemporary globalization.

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