Whose Art Is It, Anyway?

Desperate for an enemy, the radical right accuses Washington of subsidizing obscene, elitist art. The facts paint a different picture

Jesse Helms knows as well as anyone in Washington how strong the know-nothing streak in America is and how to focus its rancor -- which is, in essence, what he has done with the National Endowment for the Arts. Only this can explain why thousands of people who don't utter a peep when the President pulls billions from their wallets to bail out crooks and incompetents in the savings and loan industry start baying for the abolition of an agency that indirectly gave $30,000 to a now dead photographer. When Robert Mapplethorpe, that much overrated lensman, posed with a bullwhip stuck...

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