"The public is a bad joke whose punchline is whispered in every piece of ‘public art’, in every attempt to ‘engage the public’, in every ‘public consultation’. Whenever the public is desired it vanishes into thin air – and when it turns up it gets quickly turned into something else: an unruly mob, a violent crowd, a riotous assembly. But why kill off the public? If the public has been killed off, what has taken its place? What more malleable entity can you try to get people to think they are? Think of the rise of the consumer, the client, the stakeholder… the one who has a vested interest, but no rights beyond that of getting a replacement chocolate bar. This is the social being that decades of inequality wants to bring about, whether as student, employee, or unhappy individual desperately looking for remedies."
o find the future, listen for acronyms. Abbreviations are economic bellwethers, and where there is spending, proper names often disappear. Over the last 25 years, the California Department of Corrections has quietly redesignated all 33 of its state prisons. At a stroke, the storied bastions of San Quentin, Folsom and Pelican Bay became SQ, FOL and PBSP, mere nodes in a vast punitive archipelago controlled by even more obscure abbreviations: AD-SEG, SHU, LWOP, 270s, J-CAT.  In those same years, major museums trademarked cute, populist contractions of their names as brand logos. The art world now features a proliferation of MoMAs and MOCAs, Dias and MAKs, ICAs and CACs.
The parallel is no coincidence. Prisons and museums — two massive expansions in the built environment — led the last great wave of American urban renewal. Before the current wave of housing, sports, education and transit projects, civic space in the United States was cordoned into zones of cultural and societal transgression. After two centuries of incremental growth, the number of correctional facilities and museums in the United States tripled, from roughly 600 prisons and 6,000 museums in 1975 to more than 1,800 prisons and 18,000 museums by 2005. 
"Up until this month, only CIA employees and VIPs had access to the “secure” gallery, according to the AP. But a permanent exhibit at Birmingham’s Southern Museum of Flight has collected high-quality prints of the pieces at Langley. The show is called Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence, and it’s just as strange as you might expect art about modern war to be. For example, in a 2008 oil painting called Cast of a Few, Courage of a Nation, artist James Dietz depicts a CIA-owned, Soviet-built Mi-17 helicopter supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan with supplies. The painting is a piece of extremely detailed super-realism, with everything coated in an unearthly, electric blue glow. Another painting looks more like concept art from Rambo: It shows a famous 1968 incident in which a U.S. soldier was able to shoot down a North Vietnamese Air Force plane using only an AK-47 wielded from the open door of a helicopter flying directly above the plane. The whole collection induces a little bit of cognitive dissonance. Billions of dollars went into developing the technology to keep th"