Smithsonian Official Defends Disputed Video’s Exhibit

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WASHINGTON — A video that outraged some Roman Catholics and some members of Congress was suitable for inclusion in an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, a member of board that reviewed a decision to pull it from the show said Monday. But museum officials’ insufficient explanation of the work led to its hasty withdrawal, he said.

John W. McCarter Jr., a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents, who led a review of the decision, said the Dec. 1 removal of the video might not have been necessary had its symbolism been better explained to audiences.

“Inclusion in the show I do not believe was a mistake,” Mr. McCarter, who is president and chief executive of the Field Museum in Chicago, said at a news briefing after a panel he led to review the decision released its findings.

The regents did not recommend that the museum’s director, G. Wayne Clough, step down, as some critics of the removal had called for since he decided to pull the video, called “A Fire in My Belly,” by David Wojnarowicz (pronounced voy-nah-ROH-vitch)....

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