Smithsonian Removes "Sacrilegious" Art Piece

Catholic group called video an insult to Christians

Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM EDT
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Hide and Seek at the National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

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Hide and Seek at the National Portrait Gallery

A new exhibit explores the history of homosexual art.
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In a rare move Tuesday, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery removed a piece of video art, after it was called sacrilegious.

The video by David Wojnarowicz depicts ants crawling over a crucifix.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue called the piece “hate speech” and argued that it was created to insult Christians. Donohue also started a campaign to get Congress to cut funding for the Smithsonian, after he said a New York Post reporter told him about the piece.

Museum Director Martin Sullivan issued a statement saying the museum was not trying to offend anyone. Sullivan said the video was included in an exhibit that deals with gender identity and sexual orientation and was meant to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim.

The exhibit “Hide and Seek” runs through Feb. 13.

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