The Decentralization of American Art Diplomacy in the Early and Mid-20th Century

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During the Cold War period, the scope of the “culture” presented in public diplomacy was vastly broad, and not all genres of arts, culture, and education were valued with the same weight. For each area, the political environments were different, and the policy tools were differentiated, which demands reviewing them in cultural diplomacy separately. Visual art was a small yet controversial area of US cultural diplomacy in the early and mid-20th century, but art diplomacy during the Cold War is still commonly misunderstood as having been a centralized effort with substantial government funding. It impedes precise insight into the governmental and nongovernmental efforts in not only art diplomacy, but also general US cultural diplomacy. This research studies the decentralization of art diplomacy in the early and mid-20th century and examines the political environment toward art diplomacy and the policy tools, such as the third-party government in overcoming challenges. It investigates the political dynamics and characteristics of art diplomacy during the period and acknowledges the contribution and growth of nongovernmental actors in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Arts Management Law and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • Cold War
  • Cultural diplomacy
  • art diplomacy
  • decentralization
  • third-party government


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