Public divided over Smithsonian display of Bill Cosby's art


WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of emails and comments left at the Smithsonian Institution show the public appears to be sharply divided over an exhibition featuring Bill Cosby's art collection, which the museum has stood behind since the comedian admitted obtaining drugs to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

The Smithsonian has received 35 emails about the exhibit in the month of July alone as of Wednesday, with the vast majority calling for the National Museum of African Art to take down its "Conversations" exhibit.

The display, which is set to run through January, features Cosby's African-American art collection paired with African art. A few thanked the Smithsonian for keeping the exhibit on view.

In a comment book at the exhibit, however, visitors have left mostly positive messages spanning 74 pages.

"Art is art. This is something worth seeing," one visitor wrote in a comment signed MC. "I'm glad the Smithsonian had the guts to keep the Cosby collection. Bravo!"

Emailed comments range from polite protests to angry questions over how the Smithsonian could showcase Cosby's collection. One called the display "sad and pathetic," while another called it "disgusting." A few threatened to boycott the museum complex, cancel their memberships or withhold future donations.

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