- Associated Press - Monday, January 31, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - An art group is protesting outside the Smithsonian Institution over the removal of a gay artist’s video that depicted ants crawling on a crucifix.

The scene in the video drew complaints from the Catholic League as well as incoming Republican leaders in Congress who said the Smithsonian was misusing its public funding, though its exhibits are privately funded.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said he decided to remove the video to head off controversy. Clough has said the exhibit is the first to explore gay themes in art history.

About 30 people, many from the New York-based group Art Positive, picketed Monday and called for Clough to step down.

The video, “A Fire in My Belly,” explored the subject of AIDS.

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