NEA CHRONOLOGY

1965: National Endowment for the Arts established.

April 1989: American Family Association condemns NEA-sponsored exhibit in which Andres Serrano's photograph of a crucifix in urine is shown.

May 1989: Corcoran Gallery of Art cancels NEA-sponsored traveling retrospective of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's work.

July 1989: Sen. Jesse Helms's bill to prevent NEA from sponsoring "obscene or indecent" art passes a Senate voice vote but dies in House of Representatives. Congress authorizes $2 million increase in NEA budget, but withholds $45,000 - the amount spent on Serrano and Mapplethorpe exhibits.

September 1989: Congressional committee adds anti-obscenity clause to NEA appropriations that would ban federal funds for art that "may be considered obscene, including but not limited to, depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the sexual exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts and which, when taken as a whole, do not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

November 1989: NEA chairman John Frohnmayer withholds $10,000 grant to New York art show about AIDS. Later, he reverses his decision.

January 1990: Congressional committee recommends NEA reauthorization without content restrictions.

March 1990: President Bush opposes Helms amendment, defying social conservatives in his own party.

May 1990: Frohnmayer rejects grant applications from four artists, Tim Miller, Holly Hughes, Karen Finley, and John Fleck, after NEA peer review panel had approved them.

October 1990: Congress adopts legislation to require NEA chairman to be "sensitive to the general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs of the American public." Leaving matters of obscenity to be decided by the courts, Congress stipulates that if art is considered obscene, artists would have to return money. Senators offer compromise in which NEA funding would continue for three years but artists whose work was found improper could be stripped of their grants.

January 1991: US District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima rejects idea that NEA "take into account general standards of decency" when giving grants, because stipulations are too broadly worded.

September 1991: Senate votes for amendment to NEA appropriations that would forbid use of NEA funds to "promote, produce, disseminate, or distribute obscene materials."

October 1991: Joint conference committee strikes the amendment in exchange for elimination of increases on cattle-grazing fees, so-called "corn for porn" deal.

November 1991: Senate approves the appropriations for the NEA without restrictions, tables attempt to ban "patently offensive art." Frohnmayer offers $8,000 grants to Miller and Hughes who were suing the NEA.

February 1992: Bush asks Frohmayer to resign and installs Anne-Imelda Radice, a Republican administrator who favors anti-obscenity clause.

May 1992: Radice denies funding to two college art exhibitions that include sexual imagery: MIT's List Visual Arts Center and Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery. The exhibits had been strongly recommended by National Council on the Arts. Beacon Press in Boston turns down a $39,000 grant and author Wallace Stegner refuses to accept medal sponsored by the NEA. Two directors of NEA resign.

July 1992: Radice approves all 1,167 grants recommended by her advisory council.

November 1992: Bill Clinton elected.

April 1993: John Frohnmayer's book, "Leaving Town Alive: Confessions of an Arts Warrior" published.

July 1993: House votes for a 5 percent reduction in NEA funding.

August 1993: President Clinton names actress Jane Alexander to head NEA.

September 1993: NEA reauthorization and nominee confirmation hearings set to begin.

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