October 02, 1999 09:11am
Demonstrators Denounce NYC Mayor
by: LUKAS I. ALPER
NEW YORK (AP) - On the eve of the opening of a controversial exhibit, demonstrators gathered outside the Brooklyn Museum of Art on Friday to denounce the mayor, who has called the show ``sick'' and threatened to cut the museum's funding.
Hundreds of signs held by the demonstrators contained crude pictures of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and pointed statements claiming he has no respect for the First Amendment.
Giuliani is under fire for his strident criticism of the British exhibit ``Sensation'' set to open Saturday, and his threats to pull $7 million in funding to the museum, or about one-third of its budget.
The exhibit includes a painting of the Virgin Mary with a spot of elephant dung on it and a 13-foot high rendering of a notorious British child killer, created with the shapes of children's handprints.
The demonstration attracted several hundred people, including actress and activist Susan Sarandon, who saluted the large number of people under 30, urging them: ``Don't roll over on this one, this is really a big deal.''
Brooklyn resident Claire Coleman said of the mayor: ``I think he's a fascist. I think he's trying to make the rich upper Manhattan people happy. Creativity has many faces.''
Giuliani was unmoved by his opponents.
``I don't want any money coming out of my pocket to pay for this kind of sick demonstration of clear psychological problems,'' the mayor said. ``This should happen in a psychiatric hospital, not in a (city-funded) museum.''
Both sides have filed suit - the city in state court in an effort to evict the museum from its building, the museum in federal court to retain its city funding.
On Friday, the museum amended its lawsuit to name Giuliani personally. It accused him of violating the equal protection due the museum under the Fourteenth Amendment.