Patriotic Avant Garde

NPR carried a story this morning “asking whether museums should be used to promote foreign policy in response to a new initiative funded by the State Dept. The program lets U.S. and non-U.S. museums apply for grants for exhibitions that would ‘strengthen international connections.'”  Go here to listen to the full story.

The story mentions similar efforts during the Marshall Plan. After WWII the federal government had the brilliant idea to woo European artists to the U.S. through exhibits of the American avant garde – proving that it is possible to be a cutting edge artist AND a capitalist. Not surprisingly, the plan didn’t work too well and the exhibits were canceled after U.S. Congressmen complained about the government funding artists with what appeared to be marginal skills at best.

Imagine a Jeff Koons exhibit in downtown Baghdad. Just what the doctor ordered!

Posted by: Ian M.


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