Curators of the critically acclaimed exhibition, although lamenting the decision, continue to defend the Smithsonian in public, and the National Portrait Gallery's director, Martin Sullivan, continues to bear much of the brunt of the criticism. And yet Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough has gone missing.Permits for 'Protest Gallery' in Process, Optimistic for Opening in Early January
Clough's defense of a decision that will almost certainly mark the nadir of his tenure has been limited to internal memos. By withdrawing from the public debate about what has been tactically, strategically and historically a disaster for the institution, he has called into question whether he shares the fundamental values of openness and engagement that should define the Smithsonian.
We have been navigating the many agencies within the District of Columbia government that grant (or deny!) the permits we'll need for our temporary 'protest gallery.' This will be physical structure outside the National Portrait Gallery that will make the Wojnarowicz video available to visitors who wish to see the entire Hide/Seek exhibit -- including the work censored by the Smithsonian.
Believe me when I say that the permit process is a daunting one, which is why I haven't had much time to update this blog lately. But DC officials have been very helpful, and we're hoping to have their final OK soon. We'll be making an announcement when that happens, so stay tuned just a little bit longer.
And whatever you celebrate (or don't), have a merry Christmas (or day off)!