Earlier this week, a video installation created by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, and featuring (among other things) images of ants crawling on a crucifix, caught the attention of Rep John Boehner after Catholic news site CNSNews.com posted a lengthy article speaking out against the new "Hide/Seek" exhibitition at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

While the exhibition is funded by private donations, CNSNews seemed to have a problem with how the taxpayer-funded Smithsonian was using it's gallery space for what the museum calls "first major exhibition to examine the influence of gay and lesbian artists in creating American portraiture." Naturally Boehner, who will assume the position of House Speaker in January, latched on to the "taxpayers" bit and called for the removal the entire exhibit, threatening to increase scrutiny of their funding when his party takes over the majority of the House in January.

The National Portrait Galley responded by removing the Wojnarowicz piece, which was originally intended to be a metaphor for the AIDS epidemic (Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related complications in 1992) rather than a sacrilegious statement and was actually kind of tiny and only 4 minutes long - edited down from the artist's original 30 minutes of footage. Meanwhile, the rest of the exhibition (which also includes brothers kissing and some butts and some penises and an Annie Leibovitz portrait of Ellen DeGeneres holding her breasts) remains on display, much to the chagrin of the Catholics, who want to make sure you see all the offending items by including plenty of photos in their blog posts.

[NYMag] [Gawker]