Smithsonian Chief Defends Withdrawal of Video – NYTimes.com

G. Wayne Clough

The top official of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, who has been sharply criticized for his decision late last year to remove a video from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, defended that decision in a telephone interview on Tuesday morning. He said it was in the interest of protecting the exhibition as a whole, as well as protecting the Smithsonian’s larger educational mission and its ability to make a strong case to Congress for federal support.

He called the decision “painful” and acknowledged that he wished he had taken more time and consulted with more museum directors within the Smithsonian. But “in the interest of that exhibition and this institution and its legacy and maintaining it in the strongest possible position, I think I made the right decision — in that context,” he said. “I’ll let the world debate it in another context.”

This is a follow-up to my blogpost Should galleries and museums display offensive art?

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