Some 50 food service workers at the Smithsonian museums went on strike yesterday, in protest of their less-than-livable wages, but the institution tried to spin the story.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has given out one of its annual “Jefferson Muzzle” awards to Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough for his removal of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video and censoring of Hide/Seek at the National Portrait Gallery. That’s one trophy we assume won’t be going on display in his home.
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.
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.
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.
LA-based art protest group LA RAW invited artists and activists, along with supporters of free speech and free expression, to gather at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA, where Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough was to speak at the Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series, to protest against the escalating art censorship from the Smithsonian to LA MoCA. [LA Raw blog]
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.
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.
Two new developments in the Wojnarowicz Censorship case since we last reported on the Hide/Seek show and its problems with government censorship and a Smithsonian Secretary who just can’t say sorry … Washington Post‘s Philip Kenicott is asking for Secretary G. Wayne Clough to resign … collector Jim Hedges wants his work by Jack Pierson out of the show …
The scandal that erupted when the Smithsonian’s secretary G. Wayne Clough decided to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibition under Republican political pressure shows no sign of calming down. Only in the past week, the Warhol Foundation has threatened to cease funding the Smithsonian’s programming if the piece isn’t restored (it will not be) and the New York Times has published an op-ed by Frank Rich declaiming the move as “gay-bashing,” and one of the artists involved with the show is requesting his work be removed from the show. The anger has expanded to the extent that some are calling for Secretary Clough, the single individual responsible for the censorship decision, to resign. Here’s why that won’t happen.
At a conversation held with Hide/Seek curators Jonathan Katz and David C. Ward at the New York Public Library December 15th, a few things became clear about the censorship scandal: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan is far from repentant over the decision, and the Catholic League, who initiated the “offense” taken at the video, are largely absent.
David C. Ward is co-curator of the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition, which has become a lightning rod for right-wing attacks on the federally funded Smithsonian institution. The show is the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. There are many LGBT images on display but the work is not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender artists and encompasses work by many names that are mainstays in art history, including Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, AA Bronson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
But what has really catapulted the show into the limelight is the fact that last week Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough ordered David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video pulled from the National Portrait Gallery show.