Nude awakening! Brooklyn Museum shows work that was banned in D.C.

The Brooklyn Paper
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Hey, art fans: Thank the lord that you live in Brooklyn!

The Brooklyn Museum’s newest exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” will feature a key piece of art that was censored during the show’s highly politicized stint at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery last year.

Beltway lawmakers, lobbyists, and political commentators pressured the institution to remove nude and “sacreligious” images, including artist David Wojnarowicz’s video depicting ants crawling over Jesus on a crucifix.

The Smithsonian caved in — but Brooklyn Museum officials are restoring the show’s original integrity.

Beyond that, artgoers will see more than 100 paintings, photographs, prints, videos, and installations which explore the role that sexual identity of artists and their subjects play in the making of modern and contemporary art.

The result is an array of engrossing works from groundbreaking artists from the late 19th century to the present, including Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Keith Haring and Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Brooklyn Museum has focused on portraiture before, most recently its photographic series on influential black and Latino leaders in the arts, but the range of works in this collection is perhaps the institution’s most ambitious exhibit of the year.

Don’t miss it — and don’t forget to gloat over your DC friends.

“Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], opens on Nov. 18. Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday. For info, visit

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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