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Warhol Foundation Booting Smithsonian?

Warhol Foundation Booting Smithsonian?


The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts will end its financial support of Smithsonian exhibitions unless the museum restores the David Wojnarowicz video it removed from a gay-themed exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In response to pressure from the Catholic League and House Republicans, the museum removed the "A Fire in My Belly" video from the exhibition, called Hide/Seek. The video, made in response to the AIDS crisis, features a scene with ants crawling across a crucifix.

The New York Times reports that the Warhol Foundation gave $100,000 to the exhibition and wants the video restored.

"In a letter sent on Monday by e-mail and FedEx to G. Wayne Clough, the secretary of the Smithsonian, Joel Wachs, the president of the Warhol foundation, said the board had voted unanimously Friday to demand that the Smithsonian reinstate the work, an excerpt of a video by the artist David Wojnarowicz, or the foundation would not finance any future Smithsonian shows.

Mr. Wachs wrote in the letter, "I regret that you have put us in this position, but there is no other course we can take. For the arts to flourish, the arts must be free, and the decision to censor this important work is in stark opposition to our mission to defend freedom of expression wherever and whenever it is under attack."

A spokeswoman for Mr. Clough said that the Smithsonian stood by the decision, the Times reports.

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