News

Smithsonian Ban for 2 Activists Showing Wojnarowicz Video

by Hrag Vartanian on December 7, 2010

A screenshot from the

The Washington City Paper reports:

Two activists were detained by police on Saturday at the National Portrait Gallery after showing David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” on an iPad inside the museum. Both activists were ejected and subsequently banned for life from any Smithsonian Institution facility.

D.C. residents Mike Blasenstein, 37, and Mike Iacovone, 35, displayed the Wojnarowicz video at the entrance of Hide/Seek, the exhibit from which Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Wayne Clough had the piece removed last week. Guards at the National Portrait Gallery approached Blasenstein and Iacovone a little after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, about 10 minutes after the two kicked off their guerrilla tablet exhibition …

And more juice from the Washington Post:

Smithsonian spokeperson Linda St. Thomas says that the banning was entirely the business of the DC police. Smithsonian security officers, she says, have no authority to issue such a ban.


The video above shot by Iacovone, and it is available on a YouTube channel called, SilenceStillEqsDeath, referring to the motto of the queer activist group, Act Up.

UPDATE: The protesters were banned for 12 months, NOT for life, as was previously reported.

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