Smithsonian Chief Calls Video Banned From Portrait Gallery Art

Smithsonian secretary would handle it differently

By SUE MANNING
|  Thursday, Jan 20, 2011  |  Updated 9:15 PM EDT
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Smithsonian Chief Calls Video Banned From Portrait Gallery Art

NBCWashington.com

The Museum of Censored Art will show the film "Fire in My Belly" until Feb. 13.

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The secretary of the Smithsonian Institution said a short video that was cut from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery is a work of art and in a perfect world would still be part of the exhibition on gay themes in art history.

Wayne Clough told a Town Hall Los Angeles audience Thursday that he would do things differently if he had it to do over.

He removed the video about AIDS in November after members of Congress and the Catholic League complained. Church leaders called it sacrilegious because it shows ants crawling on a crucifix.

Critics accused Clough of artistic censorship and some art groups threatened to withhold donations.

During his appearance inside the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, about 25 protesters marched outside.

The video is now playing in the temporary Museum for Censored Art just outside the Portrait Gallery.

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