Freedom to have your funding cut

by Kelvin Smith

Ofili on show

Although New York Mayor Giuliani was not able to get the picture removed from Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary had to be viewed at some distance from behind a guarded rail.  In Ofili’s painting Mary is surrounded not by putti but by butterfly-like designs made from female buttocks and genitals.  The first amendment came to the rescue and the work remained on show, but the museum’s funding was cut.