TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Art Museum wants to take on an exhibit that features some of the greatest artists of our time, including one artist the Smithsonian decided was too offensive.
The controversy surrounds a 30-second video clip critics call sacrilege. The Smithsonian took the unusual step of pulling it, after some House Republicans threatened its funding.
The Tacoma Art Museum is well known for stirring exhibits. Currently it is featuring some of the earlier works of Dale Chihuly and Norman Rockwell. The museum is now finalizing the details for another exhibit -- and this one is no Norman Rockwell.
It's called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. On the surface, it doesn't sound controversial.
“People like Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol, artists we consider the most creative thinkers of their time,” said TAM’s curator, Rock Hushka.
But among those thinkers is an artist by the name of David Wojnarowicz.
“Who is expressing his most desperate and impassioned pleas for compassion during a really complicated and terrifying time in America,” said Hushka.
Told through a video montage that was deemed so offensive, the Smithsonian pulled it. It contains an image of ants crawling on a crucifix. Many found it offensive, including some Republican lawmakers who called it sacrilege.
And now, the exhibit is likely bound for Tacoma. And TAM is prepared for any pushback.
“For someone to come and have to confront this image, it’s not going to be easy but art’s not easy,” said Hushka.
The entire video is four minutes long and also includes images depicting homoerotic art, also expected to be controversial. The museum hopes to seal the deal by April with the exhibit opening at the Tacoma Art Museum in January 2012.