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Public funding of art in the U.S.
Advocate and the Ethical Issues in the Art

We know how persuasive art can be in how
it outlines our society. This is similarly true in how it affects our behavior.
Art can expose us up to innovative ideas and beliefs, and artists can make an
immense impression as role models, both in a positive or a negative manner. Since
art links with us on so many dissimilar levels, and appeals to our senses,
emotion, reason and imagination, it certainly affects us more than other areas
of knowledge. There are limited of us who would pay to see a scientific
experiment, but most of us are steady cinema goers, or visit art galleries and
photo exhibitions. Because of that, it is easy to be affected by something we
read or see that seems to us to be something to which we should desire.

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The recent situation of the arts in our
country is a miniature of all the other things. Majority arts associations, are
recognized to contribute the community and consigned non-profit crowds to do
so, have come to bear a resemblance to reserved country clubs. In the meantime,
superficially, an energetic inventive artist, and the wide-ranging communities
where they live and work, are being denied access to funds and traditional
legitimation. When the NEA’s financial plan and staff were cut by almost 50
percent, inexplicably disturbing minority and disadvantaged communities that
could not turn to individual donors or corporate foundations to fill the gap.
As a consequence, arts funding became more reliant on private dollars than ever
before.

As we learned in “Visual Shock” about
Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall, there were also some difficulties regards
receiving the funding. Imagined by Jan Scruggs, a veteran of the Vietnam War
and creator and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, a public
determination led to congressional support for a national Vietnam memorial. In
July 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the bill consenting a memorial,
stating, “We do not honor war; we honor the peace and the freedoms that they
sought.” At that time, the design competition was the largest ever held for
such an event

Similarly, in the case of United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum (1978), president Jimmy Carter established the
President’s Commission on the Holocaust. Chaired by Elie Wiesel, the Commission
suggested that a national monument could be recognized to honor the sufferers
and survivors of the Holocaust. While the federal government took plot for the
site, the museum structure and exhibits (at a cost of $259 million) were funded
utterly through private donations from over 200,000 distinct donors.

In 1783 Congress voted to honor George
Washington with a Washington Monument for the nation’s capital, but there was
one glitch in this plan: at the time the nation did not have any investment. Robert
Mills’ foremost plan for a monument in D.C. to George Washington was far
different from what we see today. As Michael Kammen describes in Visual Shock,
Mills first proposed a monument that would have stood over 1,000 feet tall,
being a pyramid on a thousand-foot square base with a statue of Washington at
the top. At each corner were to be 350-foot obelisks. Needless to say, this
design was considered unrealistic, and then a new design was approved. The
state of Alabama sent a particularly carved stone to be placed in the monument,
which caused other states, administrations, and even foreign countries to do
the same. The course of bringing the design to reality was not without funding
controversies. The question was if the monument should be built with public or
private funds. Interestingly, once completed, the monument began to meet with
agreement, being applauded mainly for its size and for at the time, it was the
tallest structure in the world.

For the past ten years or so the field of
public art has performed in the land of scarceness, where most artists and
public art administrators have had to focus a great deal of thoughtfulness on
the everyday matter of how to enter for funding. Today, more public money is offered
again. At the same time, arts funding is transitioning to new models. Artists
are financing works through crowdsourcing. Foundations are trying with avoiding
customary structures and systems, going instead directly to individual artists
and community members and offering to fund their ideas. In terms of
artistic freedom—or the level of artistic negotiation—the procedure for private
funding can be even more limiting than a civic one. Often, the organization try
to find to give artistic expression to a corporate vision or set of values. If
that is the case, the funders may feel more invested in the image and outcome
of the piece. By most principles, the arts comprise a noteworthy area of
economic activity. In 1990, consumers spent $5 billion on admissions to theater,
opera, galleries, and other nonprofit arts events, $4.1 billion on movie
admissions, and $17.6 billion on books. According to the NEA, from 1993 to
1998, real spending on performing arts events grew by 16 percent, or $1.2 billion,
over this six-year time frame.

Although the art bazaar and ethnic
heritage have been keeping pace in several ways, in the past two decades there
are firm ethical issues that have convinced a drastic reconsideration of the
art market. This modification has been prompted by the end of the Cold War.
Historic incidences that had been ignored for decades for governmental causes,
were quickly taken to the public consideration. The developed readiness of
information and the open access of government records relating to WWII have
made potential a number of looted art disagreements which were absurd in
earlier decades. Similarly, technological advances have made it possible to
track down and recover shipwrecks which were lost centuries ago in the most
remote areas of the oceans. These parallel developments have led scholars to
investigate these evolving matters.

Several artists have unpleasant ethical
views. Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci has never failed to enchant the limitless
generations in its mystery and constant controversy. It still remains a
suspense weather the theories put upon The Mona Lisa are real or is it just a
simple beautiful painting which it is supposed to be. It initiated at first by
disagreeing that the canvas has been trimmed and the section on both sides of
the painting has been removed as previous replicas had portrayed column on both
the sides of the figure. But, later it was verified to be genuine and not
edited. Then came the scenery, which looked more than just an ordinary
landscape to the speculators. They started to state that the background
contained hidden images of animals such as a lion, an ape and buffalos flying
in the air, even crocodiles and snakes and that Mona Lisa is actually a personification
of jealousy.  Then the ambitious smile,
which appears different to everyone who looks at it. Also, the eyebrows and
eyelashes, it was strange that Mona Lisa did not have any of it. And the list
would go on and on.  If Vinci was alive
today, he would be scrupulously pleased by the way people interpreted his
paintings. We appreciate the artistic achievements of such figures despite
knowing their characters. Yet again, the response depends on a mixture of your
own moral perspective, and your opinion of art. Some would argue that art
should stand on its own, and we should not be judgmental about the ethical
standpoint of its designer, and others would say that art – specifically if it
has some kind of ethical message cannot be seen as distinct from the person who
created it, that art is an expression of someone’s emotions and thoughts or
opinions.

Another art censorship that still prevails
is Guernica by Picasso. Guernica is a mural, 11 feet 6 inches high and 25 feet
8 inches wide, which observes the aerial bombardment and demolition of the
prehistoric Basque town by German and Italian squadrons on April 26, 1937. It
has reasonably been held to be one of the masterpieces of modern art. A modern
history painting, Guernica self-consciously appeals on standard forms the
artist was exploring at the time: bulls, horses, depressed women particularly
Spanish themes that were nevertheless typical and universal. Picasso used a
distinguishing symbolic language to carry meaning in a largely accessible way
without negotiating the hermetic uniqueness of the artist’s style. Guernica is
no stranger to civil disagreement. Picasso painted it for the Spanish Pavilion
of the 1937 Paris World’s Fair as the gratification of an assignment that existed
before the bombing brutality. After the World’s Fair, Guernica explored
European capitals, a rallying-cry-in-paint to the anti-fascist grounds. The
wall hanging version at the United Nations was a gift from the estate of Nelson
D. Rockefeller in 1985. U.N. officials draped a blue curtain over a tapestry
duplicate of Picasso’s Guernica at the entrance of the Security Council. The
spot is where diplomats and others make statements to the press, and supposedly
representatives thought it would be unsuitable for Colin Powell to express
about war in Iraq with the 20th century’s most iconic dispute against the
cruelty of war as his framework. The unending sensitivity to Guernica
illustrated by the U.N. cover-up may remind us that modern art is poor in
images adoring just military action, though rich in images of the horrors and
injustices of war.

Disputes and opinions overflow as ethical
decisions, or the deficiency thereof, play a role in influential practice. With
the ever reduction gap between commerce and culture, the prioritizing of good
business over public service creates a gradually blurry set of ethical
strategies. Although it could be said that ethics has no place in the art
world, history controverts this. For centuries, artists have used their
creations to express beliefs and inform human beings on an enormous array of
ethical issues.

 

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