The federally funded National Portrait Gallery (NPG), one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."
UPDATE 1/10/12: NPG again held exposition during 2011 Christmas season focused on the homosexual lifestyle (second year in a row).
UPDATE 11/15/11: Ant-covered Jesus now at Brooklyn Museum, which rejected the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn request for it to be removed as it is “disrespectful” to Christians.
UPDATE 1/19/11: Smithsonian leader is apologetic for rapid removal of one item from exhibit
UPDATE 1/13/11: New York Museum of Modern Art purchases ant-covered Jesus video
UPDATE 12/16/10: Art curators label Christians "a hate group and anti-Semitic . . . American Taliban," reminiscent of the 1930s.
Video: "Hide/Seek" curators David C. Ward and Jonathan Katz speak in New York City.
UPDATE 12/3/10 ABC News: Ant-covered Jesus is anti-Christian "hate speech" (view "ant video")
UPDATE 12/1/10 video report:
-- From "Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts" by Penny Starr, CNSNews.com 11/29/10
The exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” opened on Oct. 30 and will run throughout the Christmas Season, closing on Feb. 13.
The Smithsonian Institution has an annual budget of $761 million, 65 percent of which comes from the federal government, according to Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian's chief spokesperson. The National Portrait Gallery itself received $5.8 million in federal funding in fiscal year 2010, according to St. Thomas. It also received $5.8 million in federal funding in fiscal 2009, according to the museum’s annual report. The gallery’s overall funding in that year was $8 million.
A spokesperson for the gallery’s external affairs office said the cost to mount the “Hide/Seek” exhibit is $750,000, the most expensive exhibition to date at the National Portrait Gallery.
Located just seven blocks from the White House, the National Portrait Gallery is a Washington, D.C., tourist attraction because of its permanent collection of portraits of distinguished American figures. These include iconic pieces such as a version of Charles Willson Peale's painting of George Washington after the Battle of Princeton and John Trumbull's portrait of John Adams when he was vice president.
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