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Smithsonian Regents Board Report Waffles on Controversy; Clough Won’t Go [UPDATED]

The Smithsonian Board of Regents met on January 31st with Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough to discuss the fallout from the recent censorship scandal at the National Portrait Gallery. In its released report, the Board fails to make a strong statement against the censorship but suggests several ways forward for better practice in the future. Secretary Clough isn’t going anywhere.

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Jan 31 Protest Will Confront Smithsonian Board Meeting

The Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, the highest administrative body of the organization, will be meeting on Monday January 31st with Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough to discuss his decision to censor David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibition. An anti-censorship protest will be held at 1 PM outside the Smithsonian’s headquarters.

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Protesters Stage ‘Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression’ in LA Against Smithsonian Censorship

Los Angeles — With a cardboard cross and draped coffin, a group of activists and artists assembled in front of downtown LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel to stage a “Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression,” where Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough was speaking as part of the Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series on “New Perspectives at the Smithsonian.”

The funeral procession was organized in large part by the art protest group LA Raw and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), in response to Clough’s ordered removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition in late November 2010.

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As Protests Take Place in LA, a Smithsonian Secretary Clough Update [UPDATED]

Today is the day that Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough is going to face the press in Los Angeles to answer questions related to the Wojnarowicz censorship case.

I’m sure there will be lots of news from the event, particularly since LA Raw will be protesting the appearance at the Biltmore Hotel, but before things kick off, we wanted to get you up to speed on the latest developments.

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Tomorrow LA Raw Staging Protest Against Smithsonian Secretary

Los Angeles-based art protest group LA Raw will be staging a Funeral Procession for Freedom of Expression on Thursday, January 20, 2011 (11:00 AM) at the Biltmore Hotel (506 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071).

The event will coincide with the visit of Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, who will speak at the Biltmore the same day at noon as part of Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series.

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Deitch Condoms Ensures Your Art Is ‘Safe’

Last Thursday January 13, there was a panel discussion at LA’s Fowler Museum titled “How Does Street Art Humanize Cities?” Organized with Zócalo, the event featured curators, artists, and reporters, most of whom were associated in some way with the LA MOCA’s upcoming street art exhibition, yet to everyone’s surprise the topic of the Blu mural whitewash wasn’t even discussed. But that’s not to say it didn’t come up in other ways. A new protest group, LA Raw, handed out condoms branded with MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch’s name on them to remind those in attendance that the erasure of artist Blu’s mural is not forgotten. One source told us that he estimates 80% of the audience to the Fowler event received one of the protest condoms as they walked in and additional condoms were placed around the venue.

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What Has Hide/Seek Lost? A Review

On November 30, 1994, choreographer Bill T. Jones’s experimental dance piece “Still/Here” opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The work featured live dancers performing in front of video footage of terminally ill people discussing their sicknesses. Nearly a month later, dance critic Arlene Croce blasted the piece in a now-infamous essay in the New Yorker. Announcing that she had never seen “Still/Here” and had no intention of doing so, Croce wrote, “By working dying people into his act, Jones is putting himself beyond the reach of criticism. I think of him as literally undiscussable.” She went on to classify that category of undiscussability as “those dancers I’m forced to feel sorry for because of the way they present themselves: as dissed blacks, abused women, or disenfranchised homosexuals—as performers, in short, who make out of victimhood victim art.” In many ways, the National Portrait Gallery’s current, controversial, and excellent special exhibition Hide/Seek feels like a resounding rebuttal of Croce’s thesis.

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Artists & Veterans Protest Deitch at MOCA Geffen [UPDATED]

Even if LA MOCA thinks the Blu Mural Censorship controversy is going to go away, it isn’t. The institution has not responded to Hyperallergic’s requests for comments on the issue or an unedited interview on the topic of the Blu mural censorship. And now, LA Times‘s Culture Monster reports on the latest action by some street artists, including Chicano artist/Vietnam War veteran Leo Limon and Joey Krebs (aka The Phantom Street Artist), equipped with projectors at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary wall.