Art in Embassies

Art in Embassies Traveling Democracy Collection Exhibition Opens at the Acropolis Museum 

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Office of Art in Embassies launches its traveling exhibition, A More Perfect Union: American Artists and the Currents of Our Time, at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, on May 24, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Athens. 

The traveling exhibition is part of the office’s Democracy Collection initiative putting artists central to the defense of democracy.  In a symbolic gesture, the exhibition launches in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, connecting our current democratic values with their ancient roots.  The initiative includes scores of artist visits at U.S. Embassies across the globe, and a democracy-themed art contest for middle- and high-school students. To fuel art diplomacy for coming generations, the office will expand its art repository with pieces that align with the themes of democracy and raise funds for the storage, care, and shipping of art to posts around the globe.   

“Artists are the world’s best ambassadors for the cause of freedom, because they survive on freedom.” said Megan Beyer, Director of Art in Embassies at the U.S. Department of State. “Art can make you feel what a diplomat can only try to make you understand.”


A More Perfect Union: American Artists and the Currents of Our Time includes works by some of the most respected contemporary artists in America. Exhibition works focus on issues of equality, freedom, justice, and other founding principles of America. Among them are Tanya Aguiñiga, Doug Aitken, Paula Crown, Wyatt Gallery, Jeffrey Gibson, Jay Lynn Gomez, Eric Gottesman, Tomashi Jackson, Titus Kaphar, Christine Sun Kim, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Alexis Rockman, Edward Ruscha, Will Ryman, Emily Shur, Xavier Tavera, Hank Willis Thomas, Marie Watt, Carrie Mae Weems, Susan Weill, Lawrence Weiner, Ambassador Chantale Wong, and Yu-Wen Wu. 


The exhibition is organized with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Athens and will launch at the Acropolis Museum on May 24.  The exhibit is part of the Partners in Democracy initiative, hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis, in collaboration with the Delphi Economic Forum.  The Partners in Democracy initiative will also include a Symposium hosted at the National Gallery on May 25, which will address current challenges democracies face, such as the rise of authoritarianism, societal inequalities, and disinformation.  The event will also explore what art can do for democracy, how cities can act as platforms of inclusion, and how we can preserve and redesign democracies for future generations.  Artists and participants of the Democracy Collection, including documentary photographer Platon, will also join the panel discussions of the Partners in Democracy Symposium.


The Democracy Collection is made possible by its partners, The Boeing Company, the Ford Foundation, and the Doris Duke Foundation, as well as United Airlines, Microsoft, AT&T, Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and scores of individual philanthropists and collectors who have donated time, funds, and artworks to this effort.  The launch of the Democracy Collection in Athens is sponsored by the Maria Tsakos Foundation.    


The U.S. Department of State established the Office of Art in Embassies in 1963, adapting a program started ten years earlier at the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibitions and collections created by the office play a vital role in our nation’s public diplomacy. The works are carefully selected to reflect the pride and innovation of America’s cultural sector, and to make cross cultural connections in the regions and states in which they are displayed. Art in Embassies curates permanent and temporary exhibitions for over 200 U.S. embassies and official residences across the globe.  

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