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Lesson Plans

Re: Faith and Meaning in Art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Maggie White (mwhite)
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 17:41:26 -0800

Hi, Reatha,

I wasn't ignoring your message; have been busy and out of town until now.

RWilk85411 wrote:
> I was under the impression, from an article in a news publication, that
> Maplethorpe received a grant of several thousand dollars from NEA
> sources.

It's quite possible he did receive a grant, but not for the show that
stirred up such a controversy and made him a household name. Every
artist should have a publicist like Jesse Helms! ;)

> NEA may not directly grant or control the funds when they move through
> a state arts commission, but that organization has to write a grant and
> stipulate the ways in which the money is going to be used.

If the organization were going to use the NEA funds for prize money or
general shows like a Biennale, that's about as specific as they can get,
I reckon; they naturally wouldn't know ahead of time which artists would
be exhibited or receiving prize money.

> Also, I was under the impression
> that the controversy originated at the Center for Contemporary Art in
> Cincinnati, Ohio.

It had been already been at a number of museums without any controversy;
it wasn't until it got to the Corcoran that Helms became aware of it. By
the time it got to Cincinatti, the Helms amendment to limit the NEA's
ability to freely award grants had been defeated, so the conservatives
decided to make a court case of it--in Cincinatti, where the show
happened to be at the time. Eventually, the director was acquitted, and
the price for Mapplethorpe's work had gone up about 1000%.

I highly recommend Robert Hughes' book Culture of Complaint, which has a
detailed section on the NEA in it.

> I think all we have to do to get the whole thing back into perspective
> is consider the current Telly Tubby controversy. I mean really.

Well, Falwell hadn't been in the news lately. I guess that was the best
he could come up with. Better start stockpiling those things--the price
for 'em will probably go through the roof now.