Franklin posted the following --
Ed, the question is whether the purpose of government art agencies is to remedy perceived social ills in the world. I would suggest that it isn't, or it shouldn't be. The broader movement of political correctness may have benefited you, but the NEA's track record of mistaking progressive politics for progressive aesthetics finally took it far from its original mission. Congress reacted accordingly. Lynne Munson:
"Obviously there is much to be said about how the level of seriousness displayed by NEA grantees plummeted over the years. But the most stunning contrast between the NEA's first and last visual arts fellowship recipients is the stylistic narrowness of the art the NEA sponsored in 1995 in comparison to 1967. Whereas the earlier grants went to artists working in a wide range of styles, the vast majority of 1995 grantees
were working within the confines of postmodern academicism, making work which,
like the art which has set off the art wars, takes baiting the public as its goal."
This is indeed a divisive issue. I know a couple artists that are Republicans, one of who was given the Artist of the year slot a few years back at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Now, I don't think that her work was really conservative.
Also, I don't think that all art that is formal is conservative in its concept. There is an awful lot of confusion between those two superficial issues. Many of the artists that I know that are producing formal work have very challenging ideas at the core of their work. But the art world designations of who is doing cutting edge work are very narrowly defined.