Artist asks to withdraw work from 'Hide/Seek' exhibit to protest video removal

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In protest of the removal of a controversial video, Canadian artist AA Bronson, one of the pioneers of gay-themed contemporary art, on Wednesday asked for a major work of his to be withdrawn from the Smithsonian exhibition, "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," which explores imagery by and about homosexuals.

The exhibition, at the National Portrait Gallery through Feb. 13, has been the source of controversy since Nov. 30, when Christian activists and members of Congress pressured the museum into removing one of its pieces, a 1987 video by the late artist David Wojnarowicz that included 11 seconds of footage of a Crucifix crawling with ants.

The piece that Bronson has asked to be removed is a mural-size color photograph titled "Felix, June 5, 1994", showing the corpse of the artist's partner Felix Partz, lying in bed only minutes or hours after his death caused by AIDS. The photo is one of the exhibition's linchpin works, and praised as a "harrowing, almost unbearable image" in my rave review of "Hide/Seek."...

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