William Blake | Art and the CIA | Grenfell inquiry | Neanderthal brains | Predictive text

I am as appalled as the other artists and arts lovers and activists who have expressed their concern about the philistine taboo on arts and creative subjects in the new English baccalaureate for secondary school children (Letters, 10 May). As William Blake pointed out, “Nations are destroy’d or flourish, in proportion as their Poetry, Painting, and Music are destroy’d or flourish.”
Michael Horovitz

• The arts and propaganda have been neatly conjoined. During the height of American Abstract Expressionism its exhibitions were funded for about 20 years by the CIA as evidence of the US’s freedom of expression compared with the tightly constricted social realism of the USSR. Ironic that many of the artists whose work was supported were ex-communists and would have been denounced in the McCarthy era.
David Cockayne
Lymm, Cheshire

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