So, what sort of hue and cry do you think would have been raised if President Bush had proposed that he develop an “art czar” like Obama is proposing? Do you think that the left would have eagerly agreed with the idea that a President Bush should be in control of art in America — at any level whatever?
No, high dudgeon would have been the likely outcome if Bush had proposed to invent the pseudo cabinet position of “art czar” answerable only to the executive branch. Once again Bush would have been excoriated by the left as stamping on people’s Constitutional rights of free expression. They would have lost their tiny little minds over the fact that government with a Republican at its head would be controlling art in any way at all. They would have been outraged anew over the audacity of the Bushhitler and apoplectic over his various evils.
And, at some level they’d have been right.
Not that Bush is a freedom quashing Hitler wannabe, but that the federal government has no business whatever having anything at all to do with the art world. Not funding it, not directing it, not planning it, not even promoting it.
Yet, here is how Artnet News greets the announcement that the Obammessiah is considering inventing an “art czar” out of whole cloth:
WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF THE ARTS?
The transition team of President-elect Barack Obama is keeping a firm hand on any appointment news, but the buzz in art-and-politics precincts has the new administration seriously considering the idea of an official White House Office of the Arts, overseeing all things having to do with the arts and arts education. The new arts czar wouldn’t be a cabinet-level position — too complicated and too limiting, say insiders — but rather a liaison with the president with real access to funds and power. Who might fill the post, which would be a CEO kind of job? One possible candidate could be Agnes Gund, former president of the Museum of Modern Art and founder of Studio in a School.
The idea of such a position has been floating around for some time. In its 2008 “10-Point Plan,” for instance, the U.S. Conference of Mayors suggested the establishment of a cabinet level secretary of culture and tourism. And though the Obama campaign didn’t specifically mention such a post, it was the first to have an in-depth arts platform (developed in consultation with Americans for the Arts), which actively painted the candidates as “champions of arts and culture,” urging the creation of an “artist corps” trained to work in low-income schools, among other projects. Stay tuned.
Stay tuned? Stay tuned is all they can say?
Where is the outrage that a president dares imagine that HE should be telling artists what to do with his little “art czar”? Where is the “artistic integrity” of these purported artists who so often wish to claim they are free of coercion or control by government and should remain so? Why is it that they don’t seem to mind The One taking control of their world of art?
Ah, but that is just it, isn’t it? These so-called artists really HAVE no principles. They love them some Obama and that is all they need to turn around and paradoxically cast their general disdain of government out the proverbial window. Of course, wait until the next Republican gets in office and see them suddenly remember that they want their freedom from oppressive government, eh?
But, for now, the silence from the “art” community is deafening.
And while we are at it, how about eliminating the unconstitutional funding that is PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts?