VA Apologies for Art-Buying Spree. Then Buys More Art

VA-veterans-affairsYou remember the art scandal, including 2/3 of a million dollars squandered on art for a VA facility for the blind? As Adam Andrzejewsji writes at Forbes,

Just last month, a VA spokesperson stood in front of the infamous $1.2 million “cubed-rock” sculpture in Palo Alto, CA and argued that this type of artwork “creates a healing environment.” Yes, nothing creates a healing environment quite like long waiting lines that are in part the result of resources being misallocated.

The VA issued an apology…

And stopped the spree, right? Uh, wrong:

…and instituted new rules governing artwork purchases going forward.

Oh, great. At least they fixed their previous habit of selecting only non-veteran artists for their largessed, right? Er, no, they:

…ignored a proposed policy that veterans’ art be displayed in VA medical centers.

So what do they do? Andrzjewski explains:

the new rules are weakly designed, and don’t stop future luxury art purchases. The VA now merely requires just a few more administrators to sign-off on the transactions.

So, why didn’t the VA institute a permanent moratorium on pricey art?

Well, it could be personal to the top administrators. Oil portraits, busts, and self-named buildings have a certain appeal to bureaucrats.

We can see a sculpture of George Washington in a Federal building. Maybe Ike or Halsey, or Grant, Sherman or (quel horreur!) Lee. But the VA’s been spending tens of thousands each on sculptures and oil paintings of VA bureaucrats and obscure, undistinguished Congressmen.

Is it time to disband this thing yet?

11 thoughts on “VA Apologies for Art-Buying Spree. Then Buys More Art

  1. Boat Guy

    “Halsey”? Nah. Spruance, sure.
    Lucian Truscott’d be good. Lee, and Longstreet just to torture the SJW’s
    It’s time to defund the whole damn lot; if they don’t have ANY money, they can’t waste it all.
    Course my preference’d be to use the lampposts on Constitution Avenue to string up all these bureaucrats, starting with the two harpies of the moving-claim fraud.

  2. S

    Would a total lack of patronage lead to the death of this monster? Once upon a time (pre 1929 depression) there were self-administered mutual-aid societies. You’d pay a regular fee, and in an emergency receive benefits….only as long as the genuine emergency continued, if it were your broken leg, or your broken back or your widder and kiddies. Back then, more folks had honour, and also the built-in incentive was to play right…even in that utopia, they knew human nature and guarded righteousness by preempting the natural desires of man. They also had the sense to restrict control of this to those who had skin in the game and stood to gain only as long as the scheme ran fair for all. Enter Government, and the ennabling of the parasite class, and we get what we have today: a powderkeg whose aftermath will reveal solutions that please only the ones that wrecked the once functioning system. The antichrist is coming, and all these current perplexities are tailormade problems begging for a final solution. Who will wake up? Those that do, will be exterminated as Enemies of The People. So what is a broken soldier of The Empire to do? Firstly, don’t join. Secondly, look to your comrades, and not to the system that duped and used you. Or, at some point, your conscience may gnaw out your liver even as your ungrateful master grinds your now-worthless face in the dust, and you have no alternative but to go along or perish as an unknown who dared rock the boat.

  3. S

    Thank you for the link, John. I’ll dig into it, though noting that it’s a nobbled 501c horse….curiously, subtype 6 instead of the usual 3. That will be an interesting rabbit trail.

    1. John M.

      There are a few competitors also, whose names I can’t come up with off the top of my head. A “Christian cost-sharing ministry” Bing search should yield good results.

      -John M.

  4. S

    Ah, a return to the local house church would be ideal: no overhead for superfluous buildings, no hierarchy for wolves to subvert and goats to mooch, inherent security and strength though strong interpersonal bonds and cellular insulation….and this model thrives only under persecution! That is why Red China is the greatest Christian nation on earth today. Few lukewarm Laodiceans there, where real mere faith is so costly…

  5. staghounds

    1. The federal government is awash in art. I think you covered the Army art operation in Maryland, and the Smithsonian and other museums are full beyond their capacity to store.

    2. Paying for artistic content is foolish. I promise that there are plenty of skilled artists, of whatever medium, school and taste you prefer, who would happily provide art to VA hospitals free or for a tiny fee. If for no other reason than advertising a success in a juried competition.

    “ART COMPETITION: The Whatever Congressman Veteran’s Hospital announces a competition to provide art for display at the hospital.
    (List of specifications)
    The competition will be judged by (famous artists and local bigwigs in the art scene).
    Winning entries will be displayed at the hospital for a period of two years, then returned to the artist.”

    Voila, free art.


    They’re actually paying for *sculptures* of VA bureaucrats? Dat be some surreal shit, right dere.

  7. bloke_from_ohio

    As Staghounds points out above, the USG has a lot of art already that it out and out owns. I am thinking of all the historical paintings of our guys doing awesome stuff that grace our countries museums and the heritage rooms of many a unit HQ. Those paintings of servicemen and women doing inspiring stuff are far more likely to mean something to your average veteran than overpriced painting of lilies.

    If the idea of putting paintings of veterans doing things that make their country proud is too triggering, just start an art therapy program and let the patients crank out some decoration. If deployed graffiti is a good indicator of contemporary GI artistic tastes, there would be many dick-asourus rexs and other phallic images to sift through. But, I am sure you can teach a veteran to produce the kind of weird abstract art that the USG likes so much. Veterans, many of them, have “seen some shit” so the art they make should reflect that reality (assuming it is not just cocks).

    Besides, if you set up a sculpture class or program, it can be used as an excuse to teach former Joes to weld or fabricate. That might help solve the shortage of skilled tradesmen folks like Mike Roe are always complaining about.

    Or, you could just keep on keeping on. What do I know…

    -Overly Educated Operations Analyst

    1. Hognose Post author

      Those paintings of servicemen and women doing inspiring stuff are far more likely to mean something to your average veteran than overpriced painting of lilies.

      The art’s not for the veterans. It’s for the senior VA management, like everything else at VA.

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