Saturday, June 04, 2005
On art: I had a pretty brief conversation the other day with a couple of co-workers who are to the left of me politically (who isn't?) regarding the public financing of art. I don't remember exactly what prompted the conversation, but I expressed my opinion that I didn't think the government should be funding any art. Let the rich pay tens of thousands of dollars for "art" that consists of little more than a light on a timer.
One of my co-workers mentioned Robert Mapplethorpe and pieces of "art" such as a crucifix submerged in urine that would specifically draw my ire -- and that I feel I shouldn't have to fund.
The other co-worker mentioned artists such as Michelangelo -- what about funding museums that would show those "religious" pieces of art? Well, I'd certainly have no problem with that -- and I'm not opposed to funds to help keep museums open (though I may not want funding for certain traveling exhibits -- see previous paragraph).
But that got me to thinking. Defenders of the National Endowment for the Arts -- the ACLU, other assorted liberals, etc. -- constantly complain (and sue) when any moves are made to prohibit federal funding for "artists" who use their "art" to defile Christian symbols. But what would be (or has been) the response when a Christian artist applys for an NEA grant and proposes to use that money to create expressly religious art? I've never heard of this actually occurring in real life. Would the ACLU be OK with that? Or would there be lawsuits -- the whole separation of church and state canard?
I'll have to look into it, but I think I already know what I'll find.