The Smithsonian should realize that there are many ways to interpret art and religious respect. The National Portrait Gallery should re-instate "Fire In My Belly" as an act of righteousness and courage -- and make the exhibit whole again.
Monday's news that the Andy Warhol Foundation may pull the plug on all future support for Smithsonian exhibitions is just the latest example of out-of-proportion responses by defenders of artist David Wojnarowicz's work.
James T. Bartlett has resigned as National Portrait Gallery commissioner, in protest of the Smithsonian's removal of David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly from the "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" exhibition.
Mike Blasenstein stood peacefully beside the entrance to the gallery containing the "Hide/Seek" show, displaying "A Fire in My Belly" on an iPad hung around his neck and holding a stack of fliers with text explaining his action.
As a Presidential Appointee in the 1980's to the National Council of the National Endowment for the Arts, it pains me enormously to see a replay of the Culture Wars that were played out so destructively in those years.
The path from David Wojnarowicz's struggle with AIDS to a Smithsonian museum announcing, ironically on World AIDS Day, that Wojnarowicz's artwork might spoil someone's Christmas, says a lot about American politics.