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Cincinatti Arts Center Director Quits

June 24, 1992

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Dennis Barrie, acquitted along with the Contemporary Arts Center of obscenity charges for displaying Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs, resigned Tuesday as the gallery’s director.

Barrie, the center’s director for 8 1/2 years, said he quit in a dispute with the center’s board of trustees over expanding programs and exhibits. Trustees wanted to hold down spending and program costs, he said.

″I think, really, we’re in a situation that most arts organizations are in in the ’90s, of making very difficult decisions based on the limited appreciation and resources for arts,″ Barrie said. ″I had one view of how we could have tackled that problem and I think some of the board had a different view.″

Barrie is to remain as a consultant through Dec. 31 while the center begins a nationwide search for his successor.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Barrie and the center in April 1990 on misdemeanor obscenity charges for displaying an exhibition of Mapplethorpe photographs that showed homosexual sex acts and the genitals of children, along with more conventional photos including floral studies.

A Municipal Court jury acquitted Barrie and the center of all charges in October 1990. The case prompted national debate on the arts and freedom of expression issues.

The seven-week Mapplethorpe exhibition set an attendance record for the center, attracting 81,000 people.

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