The Andy Warhol Foundation, an organization dedicated to the "advancement of the visual arts," has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Smithsonian Institution in the past, but that charitable relationship may soon change.
According to news reports, the foundation is threatening to pull all funding donations unless the museum returns video of an ant-covered crucifix to an exhibit it pulled in response to widespread public outcry.
As we reported, a video featuring a plastic crucifix with ants crawling on it was prominently featured in an exhibition titled "Hide/See" at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Republican Minority Leader Eric Cantor called on the Smithsonian to remove "obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season," despite the museum's insistence the exhibit was not meant to offend anyone.
But after a number of conservative Republicans threatened to vote against future federal funding for the museum, the Smithsonian removed the controversial video from the exhibit.
Now, the Warhol Foundation is fighting back:
In a letter sent on Monday to the head of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, Joel Wachs, the president of the Warhol Foundation, said that the foundation's board voted unanimously on Friday to demand that the Smithsonian restore the work, an excerpt of a video by the artist David Wojnarowicz, to the exhibition or the foundation would reject any future grant requests.
The Warhol Foundation reportedly donated $100,000 to help fund the "Hide/Seek" exhibit, and over the past three years, the foundation has given $375,000 to various Smithsonian institutions.
Tthere has been no hint yet from the museum whether they will consider reinstalling the video into the exhibit.