Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough Defends Decision to Remove Controversial Video

WASHINGTON (AP).- Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough on Tuesday defended his decision to remove an artist’s video that depicted ants crawling on a crucifix from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, saying a controversy over the short clip threatened to overshadow its first major exhibition on gay themes in art history. Critics had blasted Clough’s decision as verging on artistic censorship while members of Congress and a Catholic group had complained that the video was sacrilegious. In his first public response to questions on the issue, Clough said the controversy overshadowed the exhibition and threatened to spiral beyond control into a debate on religious desecration. He said he acted to preserve the overall exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”