Lynda Morris - The Battle for Picasso's Mind

Open Lecture


Picasso at the Sheffield Peace Congress, UK, 1950

It is recognised that Picasso’s politically-engaged post-war paintings were subject to negative assessment by Western theorists including Greenberg and Berger. Lynda Morris’ ongoing research does not simply oppose this from a broadly defined Eastern European perspective. In investigating the reception of his work she has departed from four geographical points – North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the USSR – engaging current research and writing within these different locales. This has formed a detailed investigation that brings into view a spectrum of critical, theoretical and political positions, including that of the artist himself. For this TrAIN Open Lecture Lynda Morris will present aspects of her current project, which concerns Picasso’s political engagement and its transnational repercussions:

“The Battle for Picasso’s Mind was the term used by Tom Brandon, when
interviewed by Frances Stoner Saunders in June 1994. Brandon was the CIA
agent who put together the International Organisations Division, IOD,
that funded dozens of cultural front organisations in Europe from 1948
until one assumes today. [ … ] Picasso was a member of the French Communist Party from 1944 until his death in 1973. He was the largest single contributor to the funding of
the CPF. His ‘Dove of Peace’ became the symbol of the Peace Movement
during the Cold War. He represented the freedom of the artist and he was
also a great history painter: not only ‘Guernica’ but also ‘The
Charnal House’, ‘Massacre in Korea’ and ‘War’ and ‘Peace’. His life and work encompassed many contradictions which help us to understand the period
1944 to 1989. Now, almost two decades after the fall of the Berlin
Wall, what is the understanding of Picasso, not only in Western Europe and
North America, but also in the former Warsaw Pact Countries of Eastern
Europe and the USSR?”

Related People

  • Lynda Morris

    Guest Speaker - 29th January 2008

    Lynda Morris is the Director of East International, the international open submission exhibition at Norwich Gallery (Norwich School of Art & Design) which, since 1991, has been realised each year in collaboration with a series of eminent invited selectors.

    Her extensive activites as curator and writer have been concerned with issues of perception, conceptual art, and resistence in art and politics.
    Find out more about Lynda Morris