Small Wars Journal

“A Contingency for Every Action” - CIA Intelligence Art Gallery’s Newest Addition

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:05am

“A Contingency for Every Action” - CIA Intelligence Art Gallery’s Newest Addition

CIA’s Intelligence Art Gallery recently added another unique work of art to its renowned collection. “A Contingency for Every Action” by James Dietz is the first still-life painting in the Agency’s collection of 21 pieces of art. It is also the first to depict the critical partnership between the Directorate of Support (DS) and the Directorate of Operations (DO)––one that is essential to mission success, cultivated through years of dependable service by officers from both Directorates.

“A Contingency for Every Action”

The painting was conceptualized in 2012 when the then-Director of the Office of Global Services wanted to pay homage to the many contributions of the men and women who tirelessly support CIA’s operations. The 48 x 32-inch canvas is a panoply of artifacts, images, and other items used to support paramilitary operations. The objects and historical references represent complex operational missions that span seven decades. At first glance, it may seem like a hodge-podge of objects, but Dietz purposefully elected to stimulate and intrigue viewers. “It is meant to be interesting and involving,” says Dietz, who created the painting through the lens of an intelligence officer.

Known for his pictorial storytelling and attention to historical detail, Dietz masterfully infused modern and historical accoutrements to ensure operational partners in the DS and the DO--past and present--could relate to the painting. Those who have the deepest insight on the images are the members of the support cadre and the operational specialists they provision. “The painting is meant to be attractive, but does not have much meaning unless viewers bring their own unique history to it,” Dietz explains.

There is no doubt that “A Contingency for Every Action” is a multi-faceted addition to CIA’s intelligence art collection, but for those select operational partners, this painting serves as a testament to their contributions and dedication to the Agency’s mission.

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