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'Gay art': The Catholic League responds to commentary on 'anti-Christian' remark

December 8, 2010 |  9:30 am

  Georgia O'Keeffe Goat's Horn with Red On Monday, I wrote a column saying that the New York-based Catholic League, which describes itself as the nation's largest Catholic civil-rights organization, was incorrect to characterize a video in a Washington, D.C., exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery as "anti-Christian." (You can read my Critic's Notebook here.) The Catholic League responded.

Here in its entirety is the unsigned e-mail I received:

"It is a sad commentary on gays that they cannot display gay art that is not homoerotic. But then again, if your sole identity is your sexuality, it makes sense. No matter, don’t ask the public, most of whom are Christians, to fund your pornography."

Oops: The show is privately funded.

But, more important, is art other than the video also being misrepresented? After the jump is a selection of work by major artists -- in addition to Georgia O'Keeffe, whose  painting "Goat Horn With Red" is shown here -- that is on view in “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” and that the Catholic League apparently thinks will scare the horses.

Is the Catholic League's characterization of this art as "homoerotic" and "pornography" correct?

-- Christopher Knight


Thomas Eakins Walt Whitman

George Bellows River Front No. 1

MARSDEN HARTLEY Painting No. 47, Berlin

Romaine Brooks Self Portrait

Berenice Abbott Janet Flanner

Camouflage Self Portrait

Unfinished Painting

Photos: Georgia O'Keeffe, "Goat Horn With Red"; Thomas Eakins, "Walt Whitman"; George Bellows, "River Front No. 1"; Marsden Hartley, "Painting No. 47, Berlin"; Romaine Brooks, "Self-Portrait"; Berenice Abbott, "Janet Flanner"; Andy Warhol, "Self-Portrait With Camouflage"; Keith Haring, "Unfinished Painting." Credit: Associated Press / National Portrait Gallery