• Art Discovery and Censorship in the Centre William Rappard of Geneva - Building the Future

    Edmundo Murray (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, History of Art, International Organization
    Arts--Censorship, International relations, Diplomacy, International organization, International Labour Office, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Organization), United Nations. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, World Trade Organization, Architecture
    Item Type:
    Art history, international relations
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    This is a history of the Centre William Rappard, the first building designed to house an international organization in Geneva, and its art treasures. For nearly a century, these works of art and decorations offered by governments and institutions encouraged smooth diplomacy and fluent international negotiations in the fields of labour, trade and human rights. On occasions hidden, removed and forgotten, and then recovered and restored, the history of the artworks in the Centre William Rappard represents the confrontation between art as diplomatic device and aesthetic experience, between representation and represented, between censorship and free expression. Even before its opening in 1926, the building started receiving works from the International Labour Organization member governments. Some pieces, such as the "Geneva Window" by Harry Clarke, never arrived in Geneva since it was censored by the Irish government. The Spanish "Pygmalion" by Eduardo Chicharro y Agüera was latter covered for its female nudity and remained hidden during decades. Later in the 1970s the secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade occupied the building and requested the removal of other major works. This was reversed in the 2010s by its successor the World Trade Organization, when many artworks were rediscovered, restored and placed in their original locations. However, new values in the world scene contributed to further changes in the building art, including the removal of Claude Namy’s caricature "In GATT We Trust" from public view in 2019. Art in the Centre William Rappard continues to speak to the viewer after waves of the positive reception, censorship and recovery.
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    Last Updated:
    8 months ago


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