Smithsonian Gay Art Show Receives Critics’ Award

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com March 23 2012 9:15 PM ET

“Hide/Seek,” the LGBT-themed multiartist show criticized by conservatives when it ran at the National Portrait Gallery, is being honored by the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics.

The group has named the exhibition Best Thematic Museum Show in the nation for 2011. The award will be presented April 2 at the Asia Society in New York City.

“Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” curated by David C. Ward and Jonathan D. Katz, ran October 20, 2010, through February 13, 2011, at the National Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Conservative activists, especially the Catholic League, objected particularly to one piece of art, the video A Fire in My Belly by the late David Wojnarowicz, which briefly depicts ants crawling across a crucifix. The work was pulled from the show; Smithsonian officials later said it should not have been. “Hide/Seek” has since been shown at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City and is now at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington State.

The critics’ association, which has about 400 members, will present first-place and second-place awards in 12 categories at the April ceremony. The 24 honorees were selected from more than 100 finalists. In addition to “Hide/Seek,” honorees involving gay artists or subject matter include “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” named Best Design Show, and “Glenn Ligon: America,” the second-place finisher in the category for monographic museum shows in New York.