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Your Tax Dollars at Work . . . National Portrait Gallery. Not!

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is one of the Smithsonian Institution’s (SI) museums. According to an extremely detailed article at CNSNews, yesterday, SI has an annual budget of $761 million with 65% if it coming from the federal government. For each of the past two fiscal years, the NPG received $5.8 million annually.

The article that CNSNews writes about concerns:

“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."

“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.

“This is an exhibition that displays masterpieces of American portraiture and we wanted to illustrate how questions of biography and identity went into the making of images that are canonical,” David C. Ward, a National Portrait Gallery (NGP) historian who is also co-curator of the exhibit, told CNSNews.com.”

The CNSNews story provides the details of the so-called art in the “Hide/Seek” exhibit in case anyone wants to know more about any of the so-called artwork. However, in my humble opinion, it’s at least pornography if not worse. Furthermore, comments by NPG officials in the news article raise questions about their competency. For example:

“Co-curator David Ward told CNSNews.com the “Hide/Seek” exhibit is in keeping with the National Portrait Gallery’s mission.

“The NPG is a museum where history and biography intersect with art, specifically the art of portrayal,” Ward said in an e-mail. “In our permanent collection, we give primacy to the images of people who have made a significant impact on American history and culture.

[ . . . ]

“Hide/Seek evolved from the Portrait Gallery’s ongoing commitment to represent the diversity of our people in recognizing the contribution that gay and lesbian Americans made to American art and culture during the last century,” Ward said.

[ . . . ]

“When asked by CNSNews.com if “Hide/Seek” had a central message, Ward said it does not.”

With the President and Congress looking to cut the deficit, it seems the National Portrait Gallery is an excellent starting place, especially some of its staff.

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