Are presidents afraid of art?


Ever wonder why you don’t see our leaders in Washington at the opera or walking through the National Gallery of Art?

L.A. art critic Edward Goldman (KCRW) has a theory that has to do with cultural elitism. Listen to or read “A Presidential Fear of Art.”

A snippet . . .

I find it difficult to understand this fear of the arts in this country, where most of the people claim to be religious. After all, the spirit of a nation, its hopes and inspirations, are best reflected in the works of its poets, artists, writers, and musicians. Why don't we ask presidential candidates about their knowledge and experience of art and culture?

What do you think?

Yes, I realize they're also very busy governing and responding to constituents. Remember, I served time working in the U.S. Senate myself. I know they're busy! It's still an interesting theory.

Thanks to Jennifer D. Anderson for the heads up.

Image (c) Jennifer D. Anderson, What I'm Made Of (detail).

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3 thoughts on “Are presidents afraid of art?”

  1. It is quite discouraging that this is still so true, but I tend to cut the US some slack. It’s a very young country with a lot to learn. I also think that some of it has to do with a cultural inferiority complex given the fact that other countries have a much longer Art history. Let’s face it, there is no American equivalent of The Louvre. MOMA has a great permanent collection, but people don’t save for a lifetime to go see it the same way they do Rome or the Sistine Chapel. Still, I find it very frustrating that art is still associated with snobbery in the US… and I’m not really sure what can be done about it.

  2. I love your blog. I was just sitiing here this morning writing in my blog, , about how dissappointed I am with the lack of talk about art in any of the political forums. We talk about religion, even though we are suppose to have a seperation of church and state. I read some info about the 70 artist who donated work so Hilary Clinton could raise money, is;nt this always the way, use the artists for what you need and them shove them under the carpet and shut them up. I think we need a large political movement to support not only arts education but the arts community in general. We hear from the independant farmers how subsidies to the large farms destoy the ability for the small farmer to compete, and I agree we need to support buy local, grow local as does our frind with his website But artisans have the same issues, there are plenty of craftsmen creating functional art, furniture, stemware, dishes, bath products, home products of all kinds that people are now buying from Wal Mart, Target, K-mart and a host of others. We need to buy from local artisans as well, “Grow Creativity, Grow America” so this is what we are trying to do with our website a place for artisans to sell but also a place to find out about our local galleries, museums, art classes, art schools, art centers, open studios, guilds. co’ops and art organizations. As well as classes and workshops taught by artist in your community.

  3. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Kesha: I agree that other countries have a much deeper art history, but I disagree with the inferiority complex. It’s got to be more complex than that. It’s a different mindset. We have always pushed culture to the background. In fact, our original Puritans even shunned decoration in their churches. Sharon: Thanks for what you’re doing to promote American culture.

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