Hyperallergic breaks down the very business-like research that went into the National Endowment of the Arts’ search for a “unified theory of art,” which they undertook in order to better understand how to use their scant dollars.

“How Art Works” attempts to layout not only a new research agenda for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), but also to diagram every input and output of the arts. While reading it I tried to step past the most obvious critique (beyond the mildly comic, if not irritating, attempt at making an equivalence between the social machinery of the arts and the physical machinery of atomic structure), that the current NEA chairman Rocco Landesman spent an unknown and likely extremely large sum of money to hire the Monitor Institute, a “global strategy firm” full of self-declared “change agents,” according to their website, to create a corporate strategy document for a public agency.

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