LEAD: Leonard Bernstein has declined a National Medal of Arts, the White House said yesterday as it announced the 11 individuals and 1 corporation receiving this year's awards. The medals are to be presented by President Bush on Friday.
Leonard Bernstein has declined a National Medal of Arts, the White House said yesterday as it announced the 11 individuals and 1 corporation receiving this year's awards. The medals are to be presented by President Bush on Friday.
A White House spokesman, Stephen Hart, said Mr. Bernstein had been offered the medal "and apparently changed his mind." Asked why Mr. Bernstein did so, Mr. Hart said, "You'd have to ask him." Mr. Bernstein could not be reached at his studio or through his assistants for comment, despite repeated calls.
But Government officials who asked not to be identified said they understood that the composer and conductor had refused the medal on Tuesday because a Federal grant to an art show on AIDS had been revoked.
The new director of the National Endowment for the Arts, John E. Frohnmayer, rescinded a $10,000 grant to Artists Space, a nonprofit gallery in Manhattan.
Recommendations for the medals are made by the National Council on the Arts, an advisory body of the National Endowment that is appointed by the President.
Robert Motherwell, the painter, who is one of this year's recipients, said he was informed on Monday by Mr. Bernstein's manager, Harry Kraut, that the musician had decided to turn down the award. "It was my impression that this was because of the National Endowment controversy," Mr. Motherwell said.
The other recipients of this year's awards are: Leopold Adler, a preservationist; the Dayton-Hudson Corporation in Minneapolis, as a patron of the arts; Katherine Dunham, the dancer; Alfred Eisenstaedt, the photographer; Martin Friedman, director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Leigh Gerdine, an arts patron from St. Louis; John Birks (Dizzy) Gillespie, the jazz musician;Walker Kirtland Hancock, a sculptor from Gloucester, Mass.; Vladimir Horowitz; Czeslaw Milosz, and John Updike.