By Martin Shaw:
Pablo Picasso‘s ‘Massacre in Korea’ (1951; in the Musée Picasso, Paris), … is based on a massacre of Korean civilians by US forces at No Gun Ri from 26-29 July 1950, which has remained controversial to this day. Korean survivors claim that they were bombed by the US airforce on 26 July, and subsequently fired on by US soldiers in a tunnel into which large numbers had fled, leading to over 300 deaths.
Half a century later, after an indefatigable campaign by Korean survivors, in 1999 Associated Press reporters found US veterans who confirmed the massacre story. The US Army was finally forced to confront the allegations and established an official investigation into the episode, whose Report of the No Gun Ri Review was published in January 2001. …
Picasso’s painting was doubly controversial in its time. It not only endorsed claims of massacre that were denied by the US. It was also criticised within the French Communist Party (PCF), of which Picasso was a member, for not conforming to a socialist realist style. The painting has never achieved the iconic status of the earlier Guernica (1937), but it has remained one of Picasso’s most explicitly political works, a point of reference in various situations.
See also here.
Discussion about Picasso, politics, and art: here.
The story dates to the early 1950s, when the U.S. Air Force, bombed and napalmed cities, towns and villages across the North: here.
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