“To understand why a particular art movement becomes successful under a given set of historical
circumstances require an examination of the specifics of patronage and the ideological needs of the powerful.”
This is the first sentence of the essay by Eva Cockroft “Abstract Expressionism: Weapon of the Cold War.” This
essay was written to disrupt a common myth about art as an innocent, isolated, personal and non-political activity
of self-expression. Cockroft describes how artists took a position that essentially “abdicated responsibility to their
own economic interests and the uses to which their art is put to after entering the market.” Cockroft reminds us that
the project of modernism and modernist art was much more than rejecting Western aesthetic traditions of painting,
drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and promoting the pursuit of art-for-art’s sake.