26 December 2013
Wealth of nations
X-mas eve at an extended family gathering when an older gentleman starts a conversation with me about Midtown and arts patronage. As with 99% of my conversations initiated by strangers, he quickly stated his strong conservatism. I do not know how this happens. Unless friends or family, I generally avoid heated subjects and so have the opportunity to gather opinions fresh. His gripe: pointedly left-leaning artistic expressions should be suppressed by the institutions themselves, based on the assumption that most wealthy donors are conservative. When the Alliance Theater staged a play overtly questioning Bush's policies, he asked the director that they give equal voice to anti-left playwrights. The every-view-must-be-equally-represented impulse from a presumably laissez faire invisible hand-ite was odd: good art should not rise from judge of art but from dictate of patrons? And what would the patrons of NYC or San Francisco say of his The Wealthy are Conservative theory? It's an old problem. He hated that government support of culture weakened the power of the conservative and wealthy.
Later, we had dinner with the Swells at Bacchanalia. Our meal could have helped many a small gallery or theater.
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