By Bob Hicks
The big cultural flap out of Washington, now that people have mostly moved on from the Smithsonian chief’s craven caving-in to reactionary blowhards over David Wojnarowicz‘s ant-crawling video at the National Portrait Gallery, comes from the flip side of the channel: Rocco Landesman, boss of the National Endowment for the Arts, has been busy telling people that there’s too much theater in America for the demand, and it would be a good thing if a bunch of companies went out of business. (That theater companies are continuously going out of business without any help or hindrance from the NEA, and starting up again in new combinations, appears to have escaped his notice.)
Locally, arts marketing whiz Trisha Mead sounded the alarm (she was even quoted in the New York Times) and Art Scatter’s brother in arms, Barry Johnson, has been carrying the conversation forward with several posts at Arts Dispatch. Mr. Scatter has even sprinkled a couple of comments into his threads.
Barry’s worked up a fine lather, and for good reason: with friends like this, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Keep an eye on Arts Dispatch, because we have a feeling a lot more is going to be pouring out on this subject, and in Portland, AD has become Information Central on this topic.
Here at Art Scatter, we noted a year and a half ago when Congress confirmed Landesman for the top arts job that things were bound to get stirred up.