The art collection of the United Nations: Origins, institutional framework and ongoing tensions

Mafalda Dâmaso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

1 Citation (Scopus)


The United Nations Art Collection, exhibited in the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York and in other duty stations worldwide, is mostly composed of official gifts offered to the UN by its member states. It is difficult to find details of the origins of the collection of the UN. The elements of the collection are exhibited not only in the New York headquarters but also in other duty stations worldwide. The fact that the committee was forced to accept all offers highlights the fact that the collection is not built from the point of view of either experts or artists. The management of the collection can be seen as reiterating the argument made by Seth Center, an historian in the American Department of State, in ‘The United Nations Department of Public Information: Intractable Dilemmas and Fundamental Contradictions’. The analysis of the United Nations art collection foregrounded its lack of clarity in terms of its goals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Global Cultural Policy
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317512899
ISBN (Print)9781138857827
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Victoria Durrer, Toby Miller, and Dave O’Brien.

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