The CIA Won’t Reveal What’s in its Secret Art Collection
By Danny Lewis, Smithsonian Magazine, Dec. 7, 2015
There are 29 paintings hanging on the walls of the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. But as Portland artist Johanna Barron discovered first-hand, if you want to learn more about them than what's given in the pithy descriptions provided on the Agency’s website, you'll likely be out of luck. Barron filed several Freedom of Information Act requests to attain information about the paintings but got nowhere.
Instead of giving up, however, Barron turned frustration into inspiration. In a new exhibition in San Francisco, the artist tries to recreate the mysterious paintings from the tiny snippets of description she has pieced together from reams of research and denied requests. “I felt this increasing need to try to uncover details that seemed to be kept secret for no logical reason,” she tells Jessica Zack for SFGate.
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