Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean You're Wrong...
Why are we assuming that a museum of 19th-century American art is a right-wing, NEA-hating, Jesse Helms-inspired institution that seeks to turn back the clock to 1859?
What does the museum have to do with "the EXTREME right wing"?
I've wondered when someone on the right would take a look at wealthy east coast collectors and model themselves after them in every way, except for which work they celebrate. These two kids would be perfect candidates for a hipsters who are also born again Christian with an almost militant evangelical determination. It's gonna happen. Look at Christian rock and hip hop. The work itself may never be great, but it has a convincing taste and texture for those that consume it. The Splenda and Equal of contemporary music... ...and maybe now, of contemporary art?
Back when I worked at White Columns, Bill Arning commented that with just a quarter of a million dollars to spend on art annually someone could shape emerging art in New York. That figure may have gone up but it's still essentially true. You, Edward, are wise to worry about the influence of the Walton fortune on art.
I still don't understand why we don't want someone whose politics we don't know buying and showing art. I mean, does anyone know Stephen Cohen's politics? I don't hear anyone complaining about his spending spree! ;-)
and, well, you can read the others yourself.
Then today, Tyler noted:
I've never heard of this before: A museum giving a project update to a group affiliated with a political party. The museum: The Waltons-backed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The group: The Benton County (Ark.) Republican Women.
Coincidence??? Perhaps. Although I do agree that it does seem rather odd. Now I've looked over the Benton County Republican Party website, and other than disagreeing with them on several issues, they certainly seem like a nice enough group of people, but I found nothing there suggesting that they're active in the arts at all. There are statements about a host of topics, from Corporate Ethics, to Teachers' Groups, to Gun Rights and other issues traditionally close to Republican's hearts, but no Cultural Wars type statements or anything of that sort.
All of which may just mean they're neutral on the arts or do not see the arts as a political issue. There's certainly nothing on their site that suggests any hostility toward the arts. Still it seems an odd group to invite for an update on a museum. Perhaps it's the hope that the Museuem will, as Bob Workman (its Director) noted, "boost tourism and tax revenue for the region" that piqued the Republican Women's interest.
Barbara Tillman, president of Benton County Republican Women, said the museum will transform the region and create various economic development and volunteer opportunities for her members.
“I don’t think you’ll see planes full of people at XNA, but there will be a reason besides Wal-Mart to be here,” she said.
Perhaps it is all economics, but just because I'm paranoid that this is an attempt to influence the course of American art, doesn't mean I'm wrong....
Also in Crystal Bridges news: they've hired Christopher B. Crosman, former executive director of the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, as their new curator. I'm still willing to wait to see what they do before judging their efforts, although I won't be caught dead carrying anything with their ridiculous moniker on it (yes, I had to get that dig in...it hurts my teeth to type "Crystal Bridges"...there's still time...for the love of God, change it's name!) .