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Editorial -- Fear No Art

The National Endowment for the Arts' recent refusal to fund an upcoming List Gallery exhibit provides exceptional cause for alarm. The NEA's newly-appointed acting chairman, Anne-Imelda Radice, withdrew support for an exhibit which a review panel had already approved, claiming the show's content, which is sexually explicit, lacked "artistic excellence." One can only assume that in an election year filled with Republican pleas for "family values," President Bush has taken it upon himself to render taboo any kind of artwork involving the human form or junior high school biology.

While the rescue of the show by funds donated by the local rock group Aerosmith is an outstanding contribution to free expression, it nonetheless forces us to fear the future of federally funded art. While we applaud Aerosmith's altruism and strength of character, we fear that the NEA might use this incident as proof that sufficient private funds exist nationally to support "controversial" art, and that this might encourage the NEA to retreat even further into its narrow field of tolerance.

No matter what the result, though, we can only salute Aerosmith, and hope that by their public endorsement of the cause of fair funding, Washington rulemakers will see the that the public indeed supports all types of art, regardless of how sexually explicit it might be. We also hope that voters will become motivated to voice their opinions on this most important issue.