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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Art: Hide/Seek Show at National Portrait Gallery

By David Mixner -

The museum world over the years has been notoriously homophobic. They have avoided like the plague exhibits with open LGBT themes. Not only did they not mount shows, they often refused even to write of an artists homosexuality either as background or as an influence in his work. So when Jonathan D.Katz and David C.Ward were able to organize this remarkable "Hide/Seek" at the National Portrait Gallery (run by the Smithsonian), it was art history in the making. Another barrier had fallen in the long journey for full equality.
From Thomas Eakins' platinum print in 1891 of gay American poet Walt Whitman (photograph) to Jasper Johns and David Hockney, this is a mind blowing exhibit that everyone who loves art should trek their way to Washington, DC to see before it closes on February 13th. If you don't, you will be missing part of your history.
Unfortunately, the Catholic League put its right wing spin on this exhibit and forced the removal of a piece by David Wojnarowicz from the exhibit, labeling it as anti-Christian. How reassuring it is to know that our national art institutions can kick into the censorship mode in ten seconds with the slightest compliant from anyone. Frank Rich has a marvelous column in this past Sunday's New York Times called "Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian." As always with Mr. Rich, it is a must read.
Because of the censorship of art by our governmental institutions, it is essential for free thinkers everywhere to run the censored video. So I offer it to you below. Quite honestly, as art, it does nothing for me. As a symbol of artistic freedom, it does everything for me.

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