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Smithsonian locked in art controversy

The two works in question, the first by Wojnarowicz and the second by Bronson.

Following the National Portrait Gallery’s controversial removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video from their “Hide/Seek” exhibition, artist AA Bronson requested his photograph be removed from the show as well. After Wojnarowicz’s video of ants crawling over a crucifix incited outrage in the Catholic League and amongst some House Republicans, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, G. Wayne Clough, gave orders to have it taken out of the show. This was a pretty inept move of Clough and The Smithsonian, who showed their hand a little too clearly by kowtowing to Conservatives.

But what’s perhaps even more shocking is the National Gallery’s refusal to grant Bronson’s request to remove his photograph, “Felix, June 5, 1994,” an image of the body of of Bronson’s partner shortly after he died of AIDS. If the National Gallery is denying Bronson’s act of protest as well as his legal rights over his own artwork in an attempt to avoid stirring up further controversy over their spineless removal of Wojnarowicz’s work, make that two pretty inept moves on their part.