[Marxism] Fwd: Hoard d'Oeuvres - The Baffler

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 10 19:54:21 MST 2016

Don your pith helmet and bullshit waders and follow me, gentle readers, 
into the jungle of the feral rich—a.k.a. downtown Los Angeles, where Eli 
Broad, the biggest art-accumulating billionaire, will soon open his own 
robber-baron-style museum. The eponymous facility—no Oz-like reveries of 
transparent suspension structures for this mogul—will house Eli and 
Edythe Broad’s two-thousand-piece collection. It will also, of course, 
double as an agitprop advertisement for its namesake’s philanthropic 
career as one of the nation’s leading privatizers of public education.

The so-called school reform agenda of the Broad Foundation, like the 
Walton family fortune, exemplifies the race to the bottom for everyone 
except the “honorific exploiters.” Eli Broad, one of the richest art 
philanthropists in America (worth $6.9 billion as estimated by the 
“Forbes wealth team”; go wealth!), has been described as a “venture 
philanthropist . . . who wants to see results.” And the results he likes 
best are naturally of the quid pro quo variety. “Eli’s middle name is 
‘Strings Attached,’” Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight 
told Morley Safer in a 60 Minutes profile of the accountant turned art 

The strings attached to Broad’s own fortune, unsurprisingly, are deeply 
entwined with the worst elements of the 2008 meltdown; one of his 
companies, SunAmerica, was sold to AIG in 1999. As Artnet noted after 
the 60 Minutes profile aired, Broad’s $2 billion philanthropic empire 
sprang from the early-aughts feeding frenzy in “cheap housing and 
insurance . . . two vast industries that soak the lower and middle 
classes at their most vulnerable.” Thus engorged, the Broad Foundation 
(with its allies the Gates Foundation and, yes, the Walton Family 
Foundation) dabbles in social engineering and transfers public resources 
into private coffers by replacing public schools with market-based 
charters. The Broad Foundation, in short, is underwriting an 
ever-spreading fiefdom of teach-to-the-test mills that squelch the 
creative potential of the non-rich and hollow out the teaching 
profession into micro-managed, low-paid dronehood.

But lo, the patrician hand of art washes all these contradictions away. 
The hard-hitting investigative producers of 60 Minutes, who reverently 
focused on Broad’s $1.6 billion art collection, declared: “There is no 
one quite so civic minded in America.”

full: http://thebaffler.com/salvos/hoard-doeuvres

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