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Posted at 10:36 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Portrait Gallery gets huge online bump

By Jacqueline Trescott
Smithsonian controversy

USER POLL: Do you agree with the Smithsonian?

TIMELINE: Notable art controversies

In the week where the National Portrait Gallery removed a video of David Wojnarowicz from its sprawling show on gender identity, and prompted a firestorm over artistic freedom and taste, the museum can take comfort in one good statistic.

Last Saturday the web version of "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," featuring work from John Singer Sargent to Georgia O'Keefe and Jasper Johns, received only 328 visits. On one kiosk in the physical show a brief view of a crucifix covered with ants by Wojnarowicz was called sacrilegious by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, and others, and the Portrait Gallery decided it was too much of a distraction to the overall themes of the show. As reports of the removal circulated, the online traffic soared. By Monday night the online exhibition had received 8,301 visits.

Who was it who said "there's no such thing as bad publicity?" Oscar Wilde, P.T. Barnum, one of those wise guys.

More on this story:

Video: Post critic debates Smithsonian censorship on CNN
Gallery shows Wojnarowicz video | VIDEO
Reaction to ants-and-crucifix controversy | VIDEO
Q&A: Catholic League president William Donohue
Ant-covered Jesus video removed after complaints
Gopnik: National Portrait Gallery bows to censors
Going Out Gurus: 'Hide/Seek': Go see it for yourself
Video: A clip from the ant-covered Jesus work

By Jacqueline Trescott  | December 2, 2010; 10:36 AM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Museums  | Tags:  David Wojnarowicz, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, Smithsonian Institution, national portrait gallery  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shakespeare Theatre reports a surplus
Next: Post critic Blake Gopnik debates Smithsonian censorship on CNN (video)


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