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“The (Syn)Aesthetics of Conspiracy”: Review of Douglas Eklund and Ian Alteveer (eds.), Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy, New Haven, London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press 2018, 196p., 222 color illustrations 4 b) John J. Curley, A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and the Art of the Cold War, New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2013, 296p., 32 color and 136 b/w illustrations, in Athenaeum Review Issue 3, Fall/Winter 2020, p. 199–206.

Book review
Authors Andreas Önnerfors
Published in Athenaeum Review
Volume Fall / Winter 2020
Issue 3
Pages 199-206
ISSN 2578-5168
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 199-206
Language en
Keywords conspiracy culture; visual culture; conspiracy theories; modern art; Andy Warhol; Gerhard Richter
Subject categories History and Archaeology, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, Other Humanities, Arts


It appears as if art and conspiracy are intrinsically linked. Art uncovers the power of imagination and establishes the visualization of strong semantic relationships: a depiction, a representation, a performance of the hitherto unseen, the transformation of the imagined or real object into a subject/body of perceivable aesthetics. Art thus expresses an immediate interconnectedness between perception and picture and immerses the viewer into connections never seen before. Between September 2018 and January 2019, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met Breuer) in New York hosted an exhibition titled “Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy” and which attempted to expose “two kinds of art about conspiracy that form two sides of the same coin” (Met Breuer, 2018). Accordingly, the exhibition was divided into two parts, one dedicated to artists exposing deliberately hidden dimensions of socio-economic realities from public record and the other featuring artists “who dive headlong into the fever dreams of the disaffected, creating fantastical works that nevertheless uncover uncomfortable truths in an age of information overload and weakened trust in institutions” (Met Breuer, 2018). Thus, the curators operated along the tiny border between exposing true conspiracies and conspiracy theories. Visiting the exhibition, this approach caused however more confusion than clarity, possibly reflecting the epistemological complexity of conspiracism as such or a premeditated ambiguity created intentionally by the curators.

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