Art from the Swamp: How Washington Bureaucrats Squander Millions on Awful Art

Art from the Swamp: How Washington Bureaucrats Squander Millions on Awful Art

by Bruce Cole


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Few Americans are aware that the federal government is the country’s largest single patron of art. Every year a group of unelected bureaucrats and congressmen spends millions of taxpayer dollars on monuments, sculptures, buildings, plays, and exhibitions, largely without public knowledge or involvement. Frank Gehry’s outlandish memorial to President Eisenhower, an installation that blinks quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt in Morse code at a cash-strapped Veterans Administration hospital, a giant $750,000 wood sculpture whose fumes sickened workers at an FBI building in Miami, FL, and funding for research on the visual cultures of tea consumption in Imperial India are just a few of the hundreds of unwanted and wasteful projects supported annually by the General Services Administration, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and their enablers on Capitol Hill. In this book, Bruce Cole, the longest-serving chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, exposes the programs and policies responsible for this glut of unsupervised bureaucratic pork and offers suggestions for their reform or elimination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594039966
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 152
Sales rank: 1,165,611
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bruce Cole was a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and had been a professor, museum director, the head of a federal agency, and a long-time observer of federal support for the arts and humanities. He authored fourteen books and wrote for, among others, The New Criterion , The Wall Street Journal , The Weekly Standard , and the Claremont Review of Books.

Table of Contents

Foreword Roger Kimball ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 The Eisenhower Memorial 1

Chapter 2 Art in Architecture 39

Chapter 3 The National Endowment for the Arts 81

Appendix: Art in Architecture Commissioned Artwork Data 101

Notes 125

Bibliography 139

Index 151

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