‘A’ For Publicity, ‘C’ For Relevance

New NEA chief Dana Gioia has been making the rounds of the nation’s newspapers and magazines this week, playing up the idea of a newly invigorated NEA, and stressing that he intends to return the endowment to the days when it was a real power on the national arts scene. But for all Gioia’s enthusiasm, his seeming devotion to ‘safe’ art that doesn’t bother anyone probably means that the NEA won’t be on the cutting edge anytime soon. But of course, being on the cutting edge of modern art isn’t Gioia’s goal. His job is to keep the NEA from the cutting edge of the Congressional budget knife.