Art Lessons: Learning from the Rise and Fall of Public Arts Funding

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BasicBooks, 1995 - Art - 304 pages
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After forty years of subsidy and billions of dollars spent, American arts institutions are no more secure financially than before. Behind the headlines about controversial grants to the arts abides a realm of conservatism, bureaucracy, and jostling special interests, Alice Goldfarb Marquis maintains. With well-established, mainstream institutions capturing the bulk of government subsidies, artistic repertoires are reaching ever further into the past while truly innovative artists languish on the sidelines.
Art Lessons is a fresh look at how Americans fund the arts - and why - by a major cultural historian. Packed with anecdotes about the creation of such leading cultural institutions as Lincoln Center, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the American Film Institute, and filled with stories about politicians, artists, philanthropists, and NEA chairs, the book offers a behind-the-scenes look at our cultural elite: the early battles over whether to allow affluent Jews to be part of the fund-raising establishment ... the controversies over the influence of popular artists such as Leonard Bernstein ("Nobody liked him except the public," carped one critic) ... the monumental mistakes made in the building of Washington's Kennedy Center, which have necessitated repeated federal bailouts ... and much more. From John Kennedy's determination to bolster America's arts as part of his Cold War strategy against the Soviets, to Richard Nixon's support of the NEA's greatest expansion, to Ronald Reagan's abortive efforts to slash arts funding when Republican arts patrons and corporate funders objected, the book is filled with surprises.

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User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

This is an interesting and sometimes caustic look at public funding for the arts, focussing on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Marquis argues that one of the main problems is that the ... Read full review

Art lessons: learning from the rise and fall of public arts funding

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

While so much journalism concerning public funding of the arts amounts to little more than polemics and personal vendetta, this is instead an absorbing account of the National Endowment of the Arts ... Read full review



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About the author (1995)

Alice Goldfarb Marquis is a visiting scholar in history at the University of California, San Diego.

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