Interesting article from the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit magazine about how China and Russia are using museums and galleries as a way to expand their soft power in diplomatic relationships:
(This white paper defines soft power as ‘the ability to influence the behaviour or thinking of others through the power of attraction and ideas’ )
The soft power article made me think about this Guardian article about Harvey Weinstien and how ‘ostentatious, targeted philanthropy’ was one of the ways he tried to repair his reputation.
Are international art exchanges neutral?
Or is there an ethical dimension to participating in these programs?
China jails democracy activists. The Russian government is accused of killing journalists. Is collaborating with K11 or the Hermitage also whitewashing the crimes of these regimes, in the way Weinstein tried to whitewash his crimes?
From the Guardian:
‘In Weinstein’s case, intended beneficiaries were, effectively, cast as accomplices in Bloom’s Rose [McGowan]-persecution schedule. But at other times they might be helping purge historical links with, say, Vladimir Putin, with fascist organisations or with discreditable financial practices. You sometimes get the impression that, usefully for donors and their advisers, complacency on this point, and carelessness about complicity, is most likely in organisations whose motives are unassailably pure and high-minded.’