MAY 18, 1989 D'Amato rips up the catalog containing Andre Serrano's "Piss Christ" on the Senate floor
JUNE 13, 1989 Corcoran Gallery of Art (Wash DC) cancels Robt Mapplethorpe's show, "The Perfect Moment"
JULY 1989 John Frohnmayer becomes chair of the NEA
JULY 1989 Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R- Ca) initiates the first of many proposals to defund the agency
NOVEMBER 8, 1989 Frohnmayer revokes a $10,000 grant to Artists Space for "Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing" (a show about AIDS) because of a catalog essay by David Wojnarowicz which angrily denounces Cardinal O'Connor, Jesse Helms and other right-wingers
FEBRUARY 1990 Dana Rohrbacher tells the House that the Kitchen received taxpayer funds for a "live sex act show" by Annie Sprinkle. In reality--not a live sex show. Not NEA funded.
FEBRUARY 1990 Dana Rohrbacher sends letters to all House members condemning NEA support for David Wojnarowicz's retrospective
FEBRUARY 1990 An article on "obscene art" in a local Moonie paper, The New York City Tribune, singles out artists Karen Finley, Cheri Gaulke, Frank Moore and Johanna Went - for shows done at Franklin Furnace
FEBRUARY 1990 Solo Performance peer panel unanimously recommends funding 18 artists including Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, and John Fleck
APRIL 6, 1990 Frohnmayer sends a "heads up" memo to the White House alerting them to possible controversy over Finley's grant but he's decided the work has artistic merit
APRIL 7, 1990 "The Perfect Moment" opens in Cincinnati. Museum director Dennis Barrie is indicted for pandering obscenity and "illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material''
MAY 11, 1990 Evans and Novak publish a column saying that Frohnmayer has been advised to veto several theater grants, including one to Karen Finley, whom they label "the chocolate-smeared woman"
MAY 13, 1990 The National Council on the Arts (an advisory group) convenes to discuss the grants. Frohnmayer tells them there are problems.
"Five hand grenades on the table" says one Council member. Frohnmayer states: "Holly Hughes is a lesbian and her work is very heavily of that genre. That is what is going to be in the press if you fund it." Council decides to table the problem till August because the agency is facing
EARLY JUNE Frohnmayer asks the NEA's general counsel to conduct a telephone poll of the National Council about the Solo Theater grants.
Someone leaks news of the poll to the right-wing Washington Times, which then does an article filled with inflammatory misinformation on Finley, Hughes and Fleck
JUNE 1990 Congress passes the "decency clause" which says the NEA must consider not just artistic merit but "general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs of the American public."
JUNE 29, 1990 The agency announces the defunding of the Four: Finley, Hughes, Miller, and Fleck
JULY 1990 David Gergen attacks the Four in US News in an article notable for its many factual errors called "Who Should Pay for Porn?"
AUGUST 1990 The House of Representatives engages in an hour-long debate over Judy Chicago's Dinner Party: "ceramic 3-D pornography" and slashes the budget of the University of the District of Columbia deleting the exact amount slated for housing this work
SEPTEMBER 27, 1990 The Four file suit against the NEA and Frohnmayer charging that their grants were denied for political reasons
SOMETIME in 1991 Rightwingers attack the Portable Lower East Side for printing a poem by Sapphire called "Wild Thing" written from the point of view of a rapist - Frohnmayer defends the poem
FEBRUARY 1992 Frohnmayer is forced to resign
JUNE 1992 A district judge in LA declares the decency clause unconstitutional
MARCH 1993 The Clinton administration appeals the federal court decision striking down the "decency clause" saying that content restrictions of federally funded art are legal under Rust v. Sullivan, the gag rule that prohibited doctors from discussing abortion in federally funded clinics
JUNE 1993 The NEA settles out of court with The Four who get the grants denied them in 1990 --- but the Four decide to litigate against the decency clause
APRIL 1998 Arguments before the Supreme Court on the decency clause
JUNE 25, 1998 The Supreme Court upholds the decency clause while declaring the language "advisory'" and meaningless
Late 2001 NEA rescinds a grant to William Pope.L for his retrospective, "Eracism." Press reports blame it on a 1996 piece called "Member, or Schlong Journey" in which Pope.L walked through Harlem with a white cardboard tube mounted crotch-high on the rolling base for an office chair, a white stuffed bunny in a Snugli strapped to his chest. The Times reported that he was walking around Manhattan with a 14-ft-long white cardboard penis