While they haven’t provoked an artpocalypse (unless you consider this to be the end of the world as we know it), the last eight years have more or less devastated the pursuit of art in America, what with bludgeoning federal grants and cutting creative programs from public schools. But with President Hope about to ascend, hopefully that may turn around. Re-upholstering the tattered remains of American culture won’t be an easy job. It’s fine that he’s starting on transportation, but, knock on wood, he’ll soon toss a bone to the art world.
He may even not have to try too hard to devise a workable solution, as The Art Newspaper has already done so for him. Then ten-point program, as pragmatic as it is, reads more like a collection of pipe dreams. The priciest endeavor? $750 million which would go to rebuild the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities — although, considering the Big Three’s bailouts, this should be a cinch. Other top priorities include providing direct grants to would-be death rockers, Hemingways, and art stars, and restoring access to creative classes to students. Hopefully Obama will act fast, as there are some treasures that even a Nintendo Wii can’t replace — like those first moments of discovering mold beneath your clarinet keys, or spilling acrylic paint across your lap. Until then, Shepard Fairey seems content playing both good cop/bad cop.