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National Endowment for the Arts

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16 Segments




Poet and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia

In addition to heading the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia (pronounced JOY-ah) is the author of several collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon. He has also translated the poetry of Italian Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale. Before he quit to become a poet, Gioia was a vice president at General Foods.


Jane Alexander Discusses Her Career in Acting and at the N. E. A.

Actress Jane Alexander talks about her 4 years as Chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts. She served from 1993 through 1997 when the GOP controlled Congress targeted the agency for budget cuts. She was the first artist to head the NEA. Alexander has returned to acting and is writing a book on her experiences at the NEA.


Debating the Future of the NEA

House speaker Newt Gingrich has called for abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts. We discuss the pros and cons of federal funding of the arts with two guests. Art critic Hilton Kramer is the founder of the Arts Magazine, "The New Criterion," and is former chief art critic for The New York Times. He's against federal funding for the arts. John Brademas is Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and former Democratic Congressman from Indiana. He also helped write the legislation that created the NEA.


Photographer Andres Serrano on Photographing the Dead

Serrano's 1987 photograph, "Piss Christ," showed the figure of Christ on a cross in a pool of urine. It was one of the controversial art works which provoked a storm from the political-right. His work was denounced on the Senate floor by Senator Jesse Helms, who then began a crusade against the National Endowment for Arts. Serrano has a new exhibit of photographs taken of dead bodies, called "The Morgue."


Former NEA Head John Frohnmayer on Becoming a "First Amendment Radical"

A Bush apointee, Frohnmayer ran the National Endowment for the Arts from 1989 until last May, when he was asked to resign. Frohnmayer was routinely attacked by the religious right for giving grants to what it deemed "obscene" art. He also angered many who thought he didn't question enough the administration's pandering to the right. Since his resignation, he's become a strong advocate for the First Amendment.


Reviewing the Year's Best

Film critic Stephen Schiff and book critic John Leonard look back at the movies and books of 1990. They give us their favorites from the year, and consider trends and highlights in popular culture.


The NEA's Forthcoming Reforms and Legislation

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Stephan Salisbury discusses the internal reforms that are redefining the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts, including an elimination of smaller grants and a reconsiderations of what topics and images are acceptable. In the long term, such changes may influence facts Congressional action.


Controversy Within the National Endowment of the Arts

Performance artists Karen Finley and Holly Hughes, whose work is often sexual and political in nature, recently had their NEA grants vetoed, despite a recommendation by the organization's peer review board. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Stephan Salisbury speaks to Fresh Air about the controversy.


Art, "Obscenity," and Federal Funds.

Artist David Wojnarowicz (voy-nah-ro-vich). His work has twice been the cause of controversy, once, when a political essay accompanying his work caused the NEA to suspend funding to a gallery, and more recently, when a conservative organization excerpted parts of his work to dramatize what it calls pornographic art. Wojnarowicz is now suing that organization for copyright infringement and libel.


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