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Philanthropy and Plutocracy—2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics

April 28 at 12:00
East Building Auditorium
Andrea Fraser, artist and department chair and professor, Interdisciplinary Studio, University of California, Los Angeles

After the 2016 presidential election, artist Andrea Fraser wanted to find out if there was a link between giving monetary contributions to political campaigns and giving to art museums. To investigate this, she turned to lists of museum board members, who are often required to make personal financial contributions to the organizations they serve. For her research, Fraser compiled publicly available information on campaign contributions made by the board members of 128 arts organizations, including the National Gallery of Art, in order to sketch out the complex relationship of wealth, art, and government. She reveals not only what political figures donors supported but also how money flows to campaigns through mechanisms like political action committees and employer-based giving. Fraser has spent her 30-year career investigating the ways we see, collect, and display art; in this lecture, she follows the money, discussing the implications of plutocracy, or government by the wealthy, for our politics and our arts institutions.

Andrea Fraser. Photo courtesy the artist.

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