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Art from the Swamp: How Washington Bureaucrats Squander Millions on Awful Art (Hardcover)
Few Americans are aware that the federal government is the country's largest single patron of art. Every year a group of unelected bureaucrats and congressmen spends millions of taxpayer dollars on monuments, sculptures, buildings, plays, and exhibitions, largely without public knowledge or involvement. Frank Gehry's outlandish memorial to President Eisenhower, an installation that blinks quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt in Morse code at a cash-strapped Veterans Administration hospital, a giant $750,000 wood sculpture whose fumes sickened workers at an FBI building in Miami, FL, and funding for research on the visual cultures of tea consumption in Imperial India are just a few of the hundreds of unwanted and wasteful projects supported annually by the General Services Administration, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and their enablers on Capitol Hill. In this book, Bruce Cole, the longest-serving chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, exposes the programs and policies responsible for this glut of unsupervised bureaucratic pork and offers suggestions for their reform or elimination.
Bruce Cole was a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and had been a professor, museum director, the head of a federal agency, and a long-time observer of federal support for the arts and humanities. He authored fourteen books and wrote for, among others, The New Criterion, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and the Claremont Review of Books.