The Smithsonian caves to conservatives
By MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS - SALON
Added: Thu, 02 Dec 2010 14:38:46 UTC
Thanks to Ana for the link
The museum embarrasses itself by taking down an artwork by a gay artist after right-wing complaints
Conservative uppityness never takes a break, even on World AIDS Day. While millions of people around the planet are marking Dec. 1 with activism and awareness, the religious zealotry dream team of John Boehner and the Catholic League's Bill Donohue (that guy again!) has successfully bullied the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery into removing a work from the country's "first major museum exhibition" of gay and lesbian art -- by an artist who died of AIDS-related illness.
The work, a video called "A Fire in My Belly" by David Wojnarowicz, features a brief depiction of ants crawling over a crucifix. Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992, created the film, which includes images of a statue of Jesus covered in ants, as an homage to a former lover and colleague who succumbed to AIDS complications in 1987.
The video, along with the rest of the Hide/Seek exhibit, had been humming along without a single complaint since Oct. 31. But then on Monday the right-wing CNS News suddenly got the vapors that "the federally funded National Portrait Gallery, one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as homoerotic." It didn't take long for the Catholic League to get in on the act, sputtering that the video was "designed to insult and inflict injury and assault the sensibilities of Christians." Just breathe a sigh of relief they left Ellen's breasts alone.
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