About

THE MUSEUM OF CENSORED ART EXISTS TO:

  • Restore the art censored by the Smithsonian to the exhibit from which it was removed
  • Keep art censored by the Smithsonian visible and accessible to the public
  • Hold the Smithsonian accountable for its actions

THE STORY OF CENSORSHIP AT THE SMITHSONIAN

On October 30, 2010, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery opened “Hide/Seek,” the first exhibition of gay and lesbian art ever to appear in a major American museum. While the exhibition caused no complaints from museum visitors, it attracted the attention of anti-gay activists, who falsely portrayed the exhibit as “anti-Christian.”

One work in particular, a 4-minute video criticizing society’s indifference toward AIDS that included 11 seconds of an ant-covered crucifix, drew particular ire from the anti-gay groups.

To appease his critics, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution G. Wayne Clough removed the video less than 24 hours after the initial protest.

We feel that Clough made a wrong and shameful decision to marginalize the work of an already marginalized gay artist from an exhibition whose very theme is marginalization. We are screening “A Fire in My Belly” in the Museum of Censored Art (a trailer we have set up outside the National Portrait Gallery) so visitors to “Hide/Seek” will still be able to see the exhibit in its entirety.

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