In 2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics, Andrea Fraser, artist, Chair and Professor at the UCLA Department of Art, examines the intersection of electoral politics and private-nonprofit art institutions in the United States at a pivotal historical moment. In a massive volume that is both institutional critique and reference work, Fraser documents the reported political contributions made by trustees of more than 125 art museums, representing every state in the nation, in the 2016 election cycle. With campaigning that featured attacks on vulnerable populations, the vilification of the media and “cultural elites,” and calls to curtail civil rights and liberties, the 2016 election cycle and its aftermath transformed national politics. It was also the most expensive election in American history, with over $6.4 billion raised for presidential and congressional races combined. More than half of this money came from just a few hundred people—many of whom also support cultural institutions and serve on their boards. Organized like a telephone book, the contribution data is laid out in dense, color-coded tables alphabetically by name of donor. With this data filling almost 1,000 pages, the book offers a material representation of the interface between cultural philanthropy and campaign finance in America. It also provides an unparalleled resource for exploring the politics of the museum world.
Book signing with the author to follow.
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