CHRONOLOGY OF A CONTROVERSY

Dec. '88 - ``Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment'' opens at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, for which the institute received $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. March '89 - Robert Mapplethorpe dies.

April '89 - American Family Association spearheads protest of NEA funding of work by Andres Serrano. Sen. Jesse Helmes (R) begins campaign in Congress against NEA.

June '89 - Under pressure from rising furor in Congress, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., cancels Mapplethorpe show.

July '89 - Washington Project for the Arts offers to present the show instead. House approves symbolic $45,000 cut (the combined sum of Mapplethorpe and Serrano grants) in the proposed NEA budget and a change in the grant-making process that gives NEA rather than the grant recipient final say over how money is used. Senator Helms secures amendment that bans NEA grants for ``obscene or indecent materials.'' (Language is later modified to omit the word ``indecent.'')

Oct. '89 - Congress approves final NEA appropriations bill ($171 million), which includes wording that requires grant recipients to pledge they will not produce ``obscene'' works.

March '90 - President Bush announces he supports an NEA without content-based restrictions.

April '90 - Show arrives at Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. On opening day, a grand jury indicts the center and its director, Dennis Barrie, on obscenity charges. Show allowed to remain open. Trial set for September.

June '90 - John Frohnmayer, NEA chairman, rejects four of 18 solo performance artists recommended for grants by theater-peer review panel.

July 5, '90 - NEA adopts new guidelines for tightening its obscenity restrictions, requiring grant recipients suspected of violating them to submit ``written justification of the project'' within 30 days.

July 25, '90 - Congress postpones debate over NEA reauthorization bill until September.

Aug. '90 - Exhibition makes final stop at Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

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