AIDS/HIV | Art and Design | Censorship | David Wojnarowicz | News | Washington DC | Wayne Clough

Watch: Smithsonian Sec'y Wayne Clough Defends Censorship of Gay Hide/Seek Exhibit


Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Wayne Clough defends the removal of David Wojnarowicz video piece 'A Fire in My Belly' from the museum's Hide/Seek exhibit makes an unconvincing argument that its removal was intending to protect the exhibition rather than an act of censorship.

"I wouldn't characterize the decisions that people make regarding exhibits as 'censorship'. Basically what you're trying to do is to make a rational decision given the position we are in as a great public museum. I would say that we all make choices and every day anyone who develops an exhibit makes a choice about how best to engage people in the subject matter of the exhibition...All of us do that every day in our lives. We're not out to censor anything. Period."

If you recall, it was  a few hours of pressure from blowhard Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and various other wingnuts that inspired the censorship of the Wojnarowicz piece, which is a tribute to the artist's lover who died of AIDS conveyed via imagery which included Christ's suffering on the cross.

Watch Third Rail Media's informative piece including interviews with Clough, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. The Smithsonian is almost certainly going to lose funding in its next budget round with the GOP Congress, so I can understand his argument to try and minimize the losses.

    But his cowardice- to cave in so quickly and total lack of media management as this story grew from a local DC item to an international news piece has caused significant damage to the Smithsonian name, and only serves as future encouragement to anyone else with a blog who may get offended.

    Posted by: Clifw | Jan 21, 2011 8:22:02 AM

  2. Liar.

    Posted by: Danny | Jan 21, 2011 9:06:19 AM

  3. Congressional Repugs haven't been tax-dollar supporters of "The Arts" for decades because "The Arts" are fatally tainted by everything gay, gay, gay. So, losing financial support from this Repuggie Congress would not be a surprise. The Smithsonian can call this exhibit's removal anything they want BUT it was still an act of cowardly censorship which'll mean NOTHING to the Repuggies holding the Congressional purse strings. It's so sad that one of our finest national institutions like the Smithsonian caved so quickly to the wingnut Papist and Christianist haters who -- as usual -- objected to anything/everything gay and then had their official spokesperson lie about their reasoning. Sad, sad, sad.

    Posted by: Rob | Jan 21, 2011 9:14:25 AM

  4. this reminds me of lieberman still saying we should have gone to war with iraq. wrong then, wrong now, clueless and out of touch forever.

    Posted by: me | Jan 21, 2011 11:06:35 AM

  5. Sadly the whole reaction to this piece (mostly by Bill Donahue and his one man Catholic League) just speaks to a huge misunderstanding of the video itself.

    Posted by: Dan | Jan 21, 2011 12:27:48 PM

  6. Exactly, Dan. This was not a case of "making everyday choices" by choosing which works of art were to go in the exhibition, it was already selected to be a part of the exhibit, then it was yanked at the first hint of controversy. Sorry, Clough, but that's censorship. I think any goodwill and positive feeling that I had for the Smithsonian by showing such a ground-breaking exhibition has been lost by this coward's "choice". You suck and should be removed from office. The arts should never be censored. End of discussion.

    Posted by: GraphicJack | Jan 21, 2011 4:34:00 PM

  7. Just for the hell of it, let's as some Catholic pendefactor to comment on the clearly implied message that Christ didn't die on the cross to redeem any faggots.

    Yeah, I know... teaching pigs to sing.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 21, 2011 7:53:06 PM

  8. This would never happen in Europe.

    Since when does the religous fund any arts? They give all their money to the church and gov lobby groups to fight their relentless cause.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 22, 2011 10:33:44 AM

  9. I suspect that Britisher Mr. Smithson is turning over in his grave knowing that the Institute his money created has joined the Bigot Parade.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jan 23, 2011 9:11:44 PM

Post a comment


« «Does the President Have Hope for ENDA in the Next Two Years?« «