Gay Museum Wars: Victory? Or a Truce?

Way back in 1934, Paul Cadmus’s painting “The Fleet’s In!” displayed a shockingly honest panorama of oversexed sailors on leave. When the Corcoran Gallery, one of the most prominent museums in Washington, D.C., removed the painting, the scandal made the young gay artist’s reputation. In 1990, a Cincinnati museum was put on the docket for showing a sexually charged photograph by the late Robert Mapplethorpe. When the Corcoran Gallery canceled the whole show, it caused an outcry that reached the halls of Congress and slipped in the notorious “no promo homo” clause to manage government-funded exhibits.

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