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Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Controversy

Please take action!!

I recently received an email forwarded from Jennifer Sichel, the research assistant for Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture (October 30 through February 13, 2011), described as follows:

“…the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art—especially abstraction—were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment.”

The email declares:

“Dear friends,

As many of you know, I spent several years in DC putting together a show at the National Portrait Gallery called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. The show casts the history of American art through a queer lens, challenging our assumptions about what/how art means.
The show is not a reductive look at “gay” art but rather a look at how artists navigate around a complex set of codes that govern sexual expression, how they circumvent and/or use these codes to express their own silenced desires, how they’ve dealt with love and loss when AIDS ravaged the community, and how (more recently) artists complicate society’s imperative to identify as “gay/lesbian.”
The show is under serious attack from the right.  They demanded that a video by David Wojnarowicz be removed, and the museum caved with an hour.  I am outraged — almost 20 years after his death, Wojnarowicz is still being silenced! And now there is a good chance the entire show will be pulled.
Please help me in rallying behind the show.  We need an army of support.
What can you do?
Email NPG’s director, Martin E. Sullivan expressing your support for the show.  His email address is: SullivanM@si.edu
Forward this email to everyone and anyone who might care.
Write your congressmen/women.
Spread the word on facebook, twitter, etc.
WE WON’T GO DOWN SILENTLY.
In solidarity,
Jenn”