Smithsonian National Museum of African Art Posts Disclaimer at Exhibit Including Bill Cosby's Collection

Recent revelations of Bill Cosby’s sexual misconduct have put pressure on the Smithsonian Museum as its National Museum of African Art includes Bill and Camille Cosby’s collections.

Wednesday, the museum posted a disclaimer at the “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue” exhibit telling visitors that the museum in “no way condones Mr. Cosby’s behavior.”

An excerpt from the sign reads:

"Allegations that publicly surfaced when we opened this exhibition in November 2014, now combined with recent revelations about Bill Cosby's behavior, cast a negative light on what should be a joyful exploration of African and African American art in this gallery.

The National Museum of African Art in no way condones Mr. Cosby's behavior. We continue to present Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue because it is fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby.”

The Cosbys donated $716,000 to the exhibit and own almost a third of the collection. The museum owns the remainder.

The artists’ work shouldn’t be overshadowed, a Virginia resident told News4.

“I’m looking at the objects as art and I think as an expression of art that should be known, I approve of that,” she said. “I think Cosby’s situation is just tragic and I feel deeply for the people who organized this exhibition.”

But others disagree. Critics are upset with the museum’s decision to showcase Cosby’s private art collection. Several organizations, including Disney and NBC, have cut ties with Cosby due to the sexual allegations.

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