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Desperately Seeking John McCain’s Arts Policy

Okay, enough with health care, the housing crisis, the economy and Iraq. Let’s focus on what really matters:

I’ve already posted about Barack Obama‘s
arts policy, and in the interests of equal time, I’ve been scouring the
web, trying during this Republican National Convention week to find John McCain‘s cultural stance. On this, the celebrated POW appears to be MIA.

I couldn’t bring myself to read the entire Republican Party Platform, so I performed a search on the word “arts”
came up with “counterpARTS.” Searching for “culture” brought up many more choices: “military culture,” “culture of radical terror,” “shared
culture and values,” “entrenched culture of official Washington,”
“entrepreneurial culture,” and that old favorite, “agriCULTURE”…but
nothing about the culture we all know and love.

Greg Allen in his blog observes:

John McCain’s arts policy is apparently not to have one. His website
doesn’t mention the arts, arts education, or federal arts organizations
like the National Endowment for the Arts at all.

And this from Jerome Weeks in Texas’ Art and Seek blog:

In 1999, he [McCain] said, “I have opposed federal funding for the National
Endowment for the Arts because I believe it is not proper to use tax
dollars for what many Americans feel are the obscene and inappropriate
projects this organization has supported. I support providing federal
block grants to the states for arts education and artistic endeavors
pursued by state and local authorities, while assuring that federal tax
dollars are not spent on obscene or offensive material.”

Hopefully, he has by now gotten over the NEA Four.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives us a glimpse of the kind of art McCain likes, as photographed in his office: unidentified “Southwestern artwork” selected by wife Cindy (photo #3 at the link); black-and-white photos of Native Americans by the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater” (photo #9).

The Atlanta newspaper also shows us Obama’s office, which includes a painting of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall by Chaz Guest, on loan from the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago (photo #4); a seascape painted by Ted Kennedy (photo #7).

I was, of course, just kidding in the first paragraph. The fate of the world doesn’t rest on the candidates’ arts policies or lack thereof. Still, it’s a matter of some interest.

an ArtsJournal blog