The Difference Between Art as Propaganda and Art as Cultural Diplomacy

    • Bologna October 2016
    • Presentation speakers
      • Gretchen Simms, University of Vienna and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria


    In my paper I would compare the mission of artists as opposed to governments in addressing political issues. The Cold War and the American National Exhibition in Moscow would serve as a prime example of how art was used as propaganda. Exhibitions at the America Houses and at galleries in Austria would serve as further examples to underline the cultural diplomacy of the United States. In looking at Europe and how artists were influenced by this and how their art evolved due to exhibitions viewed by them (Pichler and Attersee for example) I would be able to demonstrate how contemporary Austrian artists and their political expressions are not used as propaganda by any government but as an artistic message from the artist to an audience. The audience may be influenced or touched by the art but it is not used by the government as a message on a broader scale. It is important to understand how art was used as propaganda to appreciate the difference between art as cultural diplomacy vs. propaganda (is there a difference and if so what is it?) and this paper is aimed at visualising and defining this idea.