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Posted at 7:31 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Gopnik's Daily Pic: A gay idyll by Demuth

By Blake Gopnik

The latest feed from my morning musings about art and objects at

(National Portrait Gallery)
A lovely watercolor called "Dancing Sailors," painted in 1917 by the gay artist Charles Demuth and now in the Cleveland Museum of Art collection. It's included in the great "Hide/Seek" show at the National Portrait Gallery that I reviewed last month. The picture turns a strange moment in a maritime subculture into an idyll where gay love sits comfortably alongside straight affection. It's the kind of image that certain religious and political forces wish did not exist, or at least remained unseen. That's my reading of the current controversy over a gay-themed video that the Portrait Gallery pulled from its show after objections from the Christian right.

By Blake Gopnik  | December 1, 2010; 7:31 AM ET
Categories:  Blake Gopnik, Museums  | Tags:  Daily Pic  
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