Art: Government in Art?

When Michelangelo heard that Pope Paul IV wanted one of his paintings changed, the master snapped: "Let him mend the world; I'll mend my paintings." As if heedful of Michelangelo's sound advice, the U.S. Government has mostly steered clear of trying to mend America's painting. Two years ago Harry Truman asked the National Commission of Fine Arts (whose usual job is to advise on statues and fountains) to see what the Government might do in the way of art patronage. After taking four volumes of testimony from federal bureaucrats, museum people and "cultural attaches" from abroad, the commission reported to...

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