The President And The Arts Advocate

How did an outspoken advocate of publicly funded art wind up as part of an administration which is, at best, indifferent to art, and at worst, opposed to anything remotely controversial? No one seems quite sure of the answer, but Dana Gioia is clearly not intimidated by the president who appointed him to the top job at the National Endowment for the Arts. Frank Rich thinks that the key to Gioia’s success may be his refusal to get involved in “the ugly culture wars that the likes of Lynne Cheney and William Bennett embraced during the Gingrich revolution. Many of those battles were in one way or another about N.E.A. grants to artistic projects with sexual content, especially homosexual content. Mr. Gioia will have none of it.”