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Native Art in Embassies
April 2, 2007 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Established by the US Department of State, the Art in Embassies Program (AIEP) is "a global museum" exhibiting works by U.S. citizens in "approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide". Recently, the AIEP began a collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to bring limited edition works by five important contemporary Native American artists to embassies around the world.

The Native artists selected for the project include internationally exhibited Mario Martinez, who was recently given a major retrospective at the NMAI in New York City, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, a pioneering artist and art activist, as well as Marie Watt, Larry McNeil, and Norman Akers.
posted by aletheia (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If it's at all helping these artists financially, then of course this program is a good thing, but of course, having your work hang in a "diplomatic residence" means that very few people are going to ever see it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:37 AM on April 2, 2007


In the UK the Government Art Collection has a similar brief.
posted by ninebelow at 7:38 AM on April 2, 2007


Very few other than the hundreds and hundreds who attend parties there every night, a la every James Bond movie in existence.
posted by DU at 7:42 AM on April 2, 2007


Yeah, DU, but they're all, like, rich. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:44 AM on April 2, 2007


If you look here, you can click on any embassy and see images of the art at that location. For instance, Beijing has a DeKooning, a Sam Francis, and three Josef Albers, Paris has four John Singer Sargent paintings, and Caracas has twenty five Micheal Piechocinskis (who?) paintings.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:21 AM on April 2, 2007


I walk by a lot of these residencies each day (a lot of countries practice this and I live in DC). Oh well, I can always imagine what is inside, right . . .
posted by pwedza at 8:56 AM on April 2, 2007


How do the people who actually live and work in these buildings feel about the place being cluttered up with extra art?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2007


What better way to buck up the State Department staffers' spirits than the art of a conquered people who trusted the American government and then were betrayed over and over again. This should help with future international negotiations!
posted by srboisvert at 10:02 AM on April 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I walk by a lot of these residencies each day (a lot of countries practice this and I live in DC).

Some of them (I'm thinking of Peru in particular, at Mass & 17th NW) very proudly advertise their in-embassy galleries, which are free and open to the public.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:05 AM on April 2, 2007


I staid for a time at the US ambassador's residence in Cyprus, and found this program to be quite impressive.

How do the people who actually live and work in these buildings feel about the place being cluttered up with extra art?

I didn't really get the impression things were cluttered -- I mean the ambassador's residence was a home, but it also served ceremonial/ritual functions, and so had very clear front-stage back-stage areas. Most of the art was on display in the front-stage rooms, as far as I can recall.
posted by jrb223 at 11:13 AM on April 2, 2007


The American Embassy in Iceland had a pretty amazing collection. I was invited to the ambassador's residence for a Christmas party and his artwork was really well curated and a lot of it was really just fantastic stuff. The ambassador took a lot of personal pride in choosing the pieces and was really happy to show me around.

Too bad I have since lost the pamphlet listing all of the artists so I can't tell you any of them by name, but it was awesome.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:21 AM on April 2, 2007


The US Embassy in Reykjavik is listed as having an Ellsworth Kelly and a Rauschenberg, among other pieces.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:27 AM on April 2, 2007


I've had several friends participate in this program and I'm glad to see it's alive and expanding. Unfortunately, I don't think any of them were invited to any Bond-styles galas. However, you do get a nice signed photo of a very uncomfortable looking diplomat standing next to your art, especially fun if you create anything mildly outre...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:34 PM on April 2, 2007


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