FIRE IN MY BELLY – David Wojnarowicz Video Pulled From Smithsonian Show

by Red Cell

Editor’s Note: Read Samantha Ann Scott’s earlier article about Wojnarowicz on TEoB here.

One day before World AIDS Day, the renown painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992 at the age of 37 from AIDS-related complications, has had one of his most important works, ‘A Fire In My Belly’, pulled from The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit because of pressure from conservative politicians and the Catholic League. The well known video also features pianist, singer and activist Diamanda Galas.

“Outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season.”
– Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

“American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds. While the amount of money involved may be small, it’s symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans’ hard-earned money. Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January [when the new majority in the House moves in].” – House Republican leader John Boehner

‘Absolutely, we should look at their funds, if they’ve got money to squander like this — of a crucifix being eaten by ants, of Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, men in chains … kissing — then I think we should look at their budget.’
– Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, a member of the House Appropriations Committee

Boehner is still pushing for the removal of the entire “Hide/Seek” exhibit, which the National Portrait Gallery describes as “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture.”

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  1. Brian Andrade says:

    I was obliquely referred to this page via a conversation on face about the Smithsonian decision to remove this video from their current show. I have seen many video installation before but never been so engaged as I was by this piece. It may well say more about my attitudes to the material used but I feel their is a distinct purpose to this work that I have been unable to see in others.
    Personally, the banning of its display is to my grateful advantage.
    Thank you for posting it.
    P.S. Do you have any more?

  2. Brian Andrade says:

    P.P.S. Thank you also for the research you have done it to the whyfores of the banning.

  3. The piece is currently at the Hammer Museum in the Billy Wilder Theater lobby. It’s incredible.

  4. The piece is currently at the Hammer Museum in the Billy Wilder Theater lobby. It’s incredible.

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