Friday, January 13, 2012


 Sorry. That's a lie. The issue is why the fuck not? Way back in the 80's I was lucky enough to get two NEA grants- the first in 1984 and the second in 1989. Both were controversial and most likely wouldn't have happened were it not for artists who really supported and understood my work being on the panels. You know who you are. Then that Jesse Helms, Mapplethorpe, Finley mess ensued and the NEA buckled under political pressure, severing it's support to individuals and replacing it with support of organizations- much less risky. These artists were way more visible and successful than I AND used sex in a more overt way. They were easy targets. This was the beginning of the dark age of PC and the rise of the ultra-rich artist right alongside the poor and obscure. Like on main street, the middle class was extinguished.
   So as I sit here, the wind howling and temperature dropping, huddled up to the woodstove, alternating between the computer and the cold studio, I think back to those good old days when I could convince a panel of peers to give me money for being in a rock band, pulling prints from tattoos or branding a cow. Alas, these days are long gone and if there is an agency out there that would fund my hunting/art career I'd like to know about it. That said, more importantly, what about the youngsters? Art students are now encouraged to set up their "Practice", like a lawyer or doctor may do, and do good professional art. For some, of course, this approach works perfectly. There will always be a few good looking artists who do good looking work, who will rise to the top and have great careers. But what about that sullen, ugly, fat girl in the corner doing work that nobody likes? The NEA was for her. She's forced to change or give up. Neither works.
   I think enough time has passed. The internet has numbed us all to sex. Mapplethorpe boners look quaint. This agency should have a complete makeover.  Has anybody brought this up with Mrs. Obama? Hell, she tore up the lawn and put a garden in. Maybe she'd be into it. I think hubby is a lost cause. I don't think he took art in school. He thinks we're all losers. I need a reason to go to the post office and get my mail, tear open that government envelope and read: "Congratulations....." Ah, the good old days.


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