December 1, 2010

Wojnarowicz Censored at SAAM (Ants Attack America, Again)

Here's a link to a four minute excerpt of the David Wojnarowicz video A Fire in My Belly (1987).
On November 30, as everyone knows by now, the film was removed from the National Portrait Gallery's Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, apparently because it displays ants crawling on a crucifix. I suggest watching the video with the sound OFF, because the YouTube version has a musical score that is distracting. Those objecting to the video are particularly incensed that it would have been displayed during the Christmas holidays. Apparently, Christ on the cross as an image of suffering and mortal death was, well, kind of Grinch. Better be good 'cause Santa's on his way. (Note that the museum edit, also about 4 minutes of the original thirty, did not have the penis segment that is included in the YouTube excerpt. However, by all reports, the most vociferous objections are coming from people who have not visited the show and who have watched it only on YouTube, if they've watched it at all.) After the video link below, there are links to two Washington Post articles from this morning's paper, including Blake Gopnik's opinion piece. BTW, my review of Hide/Seek will be in the January ARTnews. It was written when the show opened, well before the controversy erupted and specifically highlights the Wojnarowicz video as an important and worthy part of the exhibition.