Saturday, December 25, 2010

Great WaPo Article on Clough, 'Protest Gallery' Progressing

While I'm waiting for my Christmas cookies to bake, I thought I'd share this great article by the Washington Post's Philip Kennicott, who calls for Secretary of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough (the guy who made the decision to censor), to resign:
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.

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.
Permits for 'Protest Gallery' in Process, Optimistic for Opening in Early January

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)!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Updates, updates...

Sorry for the lack of updates lately -- I've had some family things to take care of, but I've also been very busy working my way through the DC bureaucracy to obtain permits for the Wojnarowicz Gallery of Censored Art.

I don't want to say too much about it quite yet since I'm still dealing with the city, but we still remain determined to shine a light on the Smithsonian's shameful capitulation to lies and ignorance, and we believe this gallery of censored art on the NPG's doorstep is the best way to do it.

More News

Bill Donohue and his Catholic League believe they've already won this battle. In this Washington Post article from today, Donohue is depicted as kicking back with a beer -- literally -- while we scurry around in his wake. Let's not let this be the final word written about this.

In more encouraging news, artist AA Bronson wants his work withdrawn from the Hide/Seek exhibit. Apparently he doesn't want to be seen as supporting a cultural institution that censors. Hopefully more artists will follow suit.

Stay Tuned

I'm hoping to have some news about the temporary Wojnarowicz gallery soon. Please keep checking back for news about next steps and how you can help!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Smithsonian to Free Speech Supporters: Thanks, But We'd Rather Censor

Before we carried out our protest in the National Portrait Gallery, the first thing I (Mike B.) did was to email Smithsonian officials my concerns.

Now I have my answer. Martin Sullivan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, sent a mass email to all those who, like me, wrote to him urging the Smithsonian to reverse its decision to silence gay voices just because a few anti-gay groups mounted a pressure campaign based on hostility and false claims. Read the letter after the jump.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Strength in Numbers -- Sign This Anti-Censorship Petition

People around the country and around the world are taking notice of the Smithsonian's censorship of art.

Let's show the Smithsonian that they can't just cave in to intolerance, issue a statement, and expect the "distraction" to go away.

Please sign this petition to demand that the Smithsonian live up to the ideals of the First Amendment, and to its own mission to "increase and diffuse knowledge."

If you have any friends in the arts or gay communities anywhere in the world, please ask them to sign.

Petition link: Tell the Smithsonian to Stop Censoring Gay Artists

Thursday, December 9, 2010

World Taking Notice of Smithsonian Censorship

The Italian art blog GlobArtMag is alerting international audiences to the Smithsonian's censorship of gay art.

Maybe a little shaming from the world arts community will do the Smithsonian some good.

If you don't know Italian (I sure don't), try running it through Google Translate. Not perfect, but pretty good.