search  current discussion  categories  philosophy 

broken art: and nea

updated fri 18 apr 03


Lily Krakowski on thu 17 apr 03

There is a profound difference of opinion between those who believe in
government subsidies for the arts and those who do not.

It is perfectly arguable that Princes and Despots of the past subsidized the
arts, hired artists, hired artists away from other Princes and Despots and
did it all by taxing the peasants to a faretheewell.
And we all got some beautiful stuff out of it.

The trouble with that argument is that the system of Princes and Despots was

Our question is what should the peasants' taxes be spent on.

Vince cites research for the sciences and such like. Fine. But for one I
keep writing my Congresspeople that patents on those discoveries should be
given to the taxpayers and only a small amount to the inventor/discoverer,
and secondly if through a government grant a cure for something is found we
ALL benefit.

My argument against NEA is that NEA is capricious and NOT accessible to all.
Just applying for a grant requires a special skill not all have. And that
has nothing to do with the ability to make the work in question. Unlike
laboratory research art is relatively cheap. It might take an artist one or
two years of work at a second job to buy the material or equipment but it is
feasible. NEA and the like do not subsidize the small local rural artist,
nor the slum kid who would much rather paint on canvas than on the brick
walls. NEA has yet to finance someone not in the "coterie" and,
unfortunately, even within that coterie there are good and bad choices. NEA
seems to have the Upper Middle Class Culture and what amuses it as its

Vince: Are you never truly never shocked and appalled by what passes itself
off as art? Do you really never say: this is too much? You say --if I read
you right--that someone's religious sensibilities are bound to be wounded so
that is not a consideration. Certainly true if one thinks about certain
minority minority religions. But what we have been talking about are the
well-known religions, and deliberate sacrilege...

There is plenty the peasants'taxes could fund , if the peasants don't mind.
As to Fine Art: there is plenty of private money that could underwrite it.

Lili Krakowski
P.O. Box #1
Constableville, N.Y.
(315) 942-5916/ 397-2389

Be of good courage....

Dave Finkelnburg on thu 17 apr 03

Hi all!
Lily has written wisely, "There is a profound difference of opinion
between those who believe in government subsidies for the arts and those who
do not."
I'm neither looking for NEA money, nor criticising it. I can't help but
recall that back in the Great Depression, similar funding here in the US
went to a singer by the name of Woody Guthrie. And some of the same funding
helped record and documented for posterity musicians singing in their homes
whose work would otherwise have been lost to history. That work
significantly influenced the '60's folk music movement. Doubtless some of
the money also went to undeserving individuals who saw an easy way to scam
the system and live off other people's dollars.
Any human system can be exploited for good or bad. Like the NEA, most
human efforts are not perfect. The results are sometimes good, and
sometimes not so good. Which of those two any one of us chooses to dwell on
says a lot about that individual.
Good potting!
Dave Finkelnburg, savoring spring in Idaho