Smithsonian Board Supports Museum Head

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

    The Smithsonian Institution's governing board is supporting the head of the museum complex in the wake of a censorship controversy but is calling for changes in how controversial exhibits are handled.

    Some art groups and others have been protesting Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough's removal of a video from an exhibit after a Catholic group and members of Congress complained.

    A review by the Smithsonian Board of Regents released Monday found that changes should not be made to future exhibits once they are opened unless there is an error.

    A panel convened to review the handling of the "Hide/Seek" exhibit included Harvard University professor David Gergen, National Gallery of Art Director Earl A. Powell and John McCarter of Chicago's Field Museum.

    The New York-based group Art Positive protested Monday on the National Mall outside the board meeting. About 30 protesters demonstrated, with some holding signs with ants on Clough's shoulders and face crossed out.

    The removed video, "A Fire in My Belly," by the late David Wojnarowicz explored the subject of AIDS. A short clip depicted ants crawling on a crucifix, which drew complaints from the Catholic League.