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Smithsonian announces new procedures to deal with controversial exhibitions [Updated]

January 31, 2011 |  2:18 pm

Smithprotest The Smithsonian Institution Monday recommended new procedures to preview and provide an opportunity for public comment about future exhibitions that could prove sensitive. [Updated 4:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Smithsonian created a new panel to help handle potentially controversial exhibitions. The recommendations issued Monday were proposed by an existing committee.]

The move comes after G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, pulled a piece of artwork from the exhibition "Hide and Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" in November after the video, David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly," was criticized by the Catholic League and several Republican members of Congress as being "anti-Christian."

The museum also recommended that "in the absence of actual error, changes to exhibitions should not be made once an exhibition opens without meaningful consultation with the curator, director, secretary and the leadership of the Board of Regents." 

The Smithsonian also made other recommendations. For the complete story, check back with Culture Monster.


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Photo: Demonstrators walk outside the Smithsonian's headquarters in Washington on Monday to protest the Smithsonian's Board of Regents meeting inside.The group is upset over Secretary G. Wayne Clough's refusal to return the David Wojnarowicz video he removed in November from the National Portrait Gallery's "Hide and Seek" exhibition. Photo credit: Alex Brandon / Associated Press.