Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Fire in My Belly

Gurldoggie is doing her part to make sure that you can see the video created by David Wojnarowicz which was recently removed from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery after the video was criticized as "being offensive to Christians."

The video, called “A Fire in My Belly,” was created by Wojnarowicz in the 1980's as part of his long and thoughtful response to AIDS and the criminally hypocritical reaction to the disease by public officials. The video was recently part of an exhibition at the Portrait Gallery called “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" which opened on Oct. 30 and which billed itself as “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture.”

One month later, Catholic League president Bill Donohue called the work an act of "hate speech" against Christians, and began to pressure the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to reconsider funding for the Smithsonian. In response to this misreading of the work and mounting pressure, the work was removed from the exhibition on November 30.

Responses to the censorship have ranged from the Washington, D.C. nonprofit Transformer showing the video in its window, to an activist entering the gallery with the video playing on an iPad hung around his neck, to the angry rant of Diamanda Galas. Museums across the country are putting works by Wojnarowicz on display, and the New York gallery PPOW is offering to ship the video for free to any group that wants to exhibit it. For those of you who do the Facebook, you can keep up with actions surrounding the Wojnarowicz controversy on the Facebook group "Support Hide/Seek."


Miss Emily said...

ha, I had a feeling i could find this here ;)

Anonymous said...

There is a secondary issue that is causing confusion. This includes two pieces of important but entirely false information that has been circulating since the censorship began.

#1 The video posted on Youtube (from 2007) is not the version pulled from the gallery. It is a posthumous re-mix and the soundtrack is not original.

#2 Galas and Wojnarowicz, though they may have admired each others work, never met, never collaborated and were not friends.

Refer to these articles, please:


For authorized, original versions of the film, see the P.P.O.W. Gallery on Vimeo.