to do two things: they give money to artists, and they link the artist to an organization that does their work-playwrights/theaters, composers/symphonies-because I don't believe that it's enough just to give people money, and I certainly don't think it's enough just to give institutions money.  The kind of grant making that we need in our country now is good money for artists linking them to the institutions, giving them the key to that door.  We carefully word the grant so that the playwrights know that they don't have to write a word for that theater and the theater doesn't have to produce anything by that playwright.  They are not required to produce anything.  If you are dealing with people who are serious, the whole point is to do work, so why must you insist they do work?

Klein was aware that the video community had also changed and that the foundation's role in video funding would necessarily have to change.  Not only had the funding of production centers become less popular at the foundation, but it was time to rethink how to fund artists.  In 1979, Klein began to explore the idea of establishing a fellowship program in media.  He queried the field with this idea and in 1981 arranged for a panel to choose seven artists for fellowships in video.  The grants were made through institutions but did not require the artists to spend the money with the institution.  Grants were made to Joan Jonas, Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Dan Sandin, Juan Downey, and Frank Gillette. (These grants are listed under 1979 on the accompanying list because the money was allocated in 1979, but they were not awarded until 1981).  Nam June Paik, who maneuvered in the selection process so that he was not on the panel in order to be eligible for a fellowship, defined Klein's philosophy as "combining broadcast and the art world" in order to produce the kind of result that the board of trustees would respond to.  Paik added that "from the beginning Howard wanted to make sure that I got a grant because I needed the money and he knew that I would get results.  He said that to continue we had to have a result." But Paik was not among the recipients.  Klein is philosophic about the difference between the panel's choices and his own.

I was very pleased because I would not have had Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, or Frank Gillette.
A panel can do it one way or an individual can do it, and they might come up with the same people.  Chances are with a panel you are going to get more information, but if you have informal panels, if you are in touch with people and you ask about who is doing interesting work and you keep hearing the same names, then you come up with informed choices.

Certainly the issue of funding gatekeepers is one raised by the foundation's funding.  Is a panel inherently any more fair in awarding grants than an individual?  Does one individual awarding grants narrow the focus of those eligible?  Certainly there are important artists who were left out, and there were those who had more access to Klein and got more than their "share."

-->> next page