Editorial

Funding the arts in the United States

BUREAUCRACIES OFTEN SATISFY pragmatic requirements. The Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program, unlike other schemes for which the National Endowment for the Arts is responsible, does not attract a great deal of attention. It offers few opportunities for howls of outrage about degenerate art. Elected representatives, vigilant in condemning the wrong kind of government waste, ignore it.

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Francis Picabia. Zürich and New York

FRANCIS PICABIA’S CAREER resists the tacit presumption of any retrospective survey, namely that the life’s work of an artist can be presented, if not judged, as a totality. Not only does Picabia’s work defy coherence of development or style, but its reception and historical evaluation has been overwhelmingly skewed toward a single decade of his roughly fifty-year long career: the Cubist and Dada works from 1912–24 are ranked among the century’s paradigmatic avant-gardist gestures, while the mass of paintings he subsequently produced until his death in 1953 have been mostly ignored or derided. 

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