The Smithsonian’s decision to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video from its Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is already made and done. The piece is gone, but it has popped up in a number of other locations, including a display at the New Museum and Transformer Gallery in DC. The question is, should the piece be restored to Hide/Seek? I’d say that it doesn’t really matter any more.
If you thought the march of street art into the American museum world was going to be easy, think again. LA’s MOCA museum is gearing up for their much trumpeted Art in the Street exhibition that will take place next year and feature lots and lots of street art, but yesterday the Museum that commissioned internationally renowned Italian street artist Blu to paint a mural on a nearby wall whitewashed the massive work within 24 hours. The work, which depicted rows of coffins draped in US dollar bills, disappeared so quickly that people are wondering why.
We’re classy, so in response to the GOP’s attack on David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire In My Belly” video, we want to go head to head with the fascists in the American right-wing political establishment and announce that their irrational frenzy has encouraged us to announce the “International Draw Jesus Day” event. Hyperallergic readers and fans can submit their own drawing of Jesus for publication on this blogazine on December 26th! [THIS IS NOT A SPOOF BUT IT IS FUNNY]
David C. Ward is co-curator of the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition, which has become a lightning rod for right-wing attacks on the federally funded Smithsonian institution. The show is the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. There are many LGBT images on display but the work is not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender artists and encompasses work by many names that are mainstays in art history, including Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, AA Bronson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
But what has really catapulted the show into the limelight is the fact that last week Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough ordered David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video pulled from the National Portrait Gallery show.
An Australian internet activist named Julian Assange (bio) exposes top secret American diplomacy on an international website.
He’s profiled last June in The New Yorker by Raffi Khatchadourian, photographed by Phillip Toledano, has a warrant issued for rape in Sweden, he’s denial bailed in the UK, and the right-wing American politicians (which is almost all of them, nowadays) want him to be tried for treason.
Yes, this must be the 21st Century.
Why am I reminded of Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat” (1793)? Probably because there is a faction in the world today who is trying to martyr Assange as a prophet of the new flesh, though so far they’re losing.
About 150 protesters assembled at in the brisk cold outside Transformer’s gallery space before marching to the National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown. That’s not a small number: More than 100 people standing up for the memory of David Wojnarowicz and the sanctity of the museum as a space free from politics. These protesters stood up for LGBT rights.
All photos by Natalie Cheung, and reporting by Kriston Capps, critic for Washington City Paper
On a recent RT America segment, a Catholic League spokesperson is calling David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video anti-Christian and compares ants on Jesus to “putting a swastika on a synagogue.” The video was part of the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek exhibition and was recently pulled when various right-wing politicians, goaded by the Catholic League, manufactured outrage at 10 seconds in a 30-minute video.
In light of the recent censorship removal of an ant-covered Jesus video by the Smithsonian Museum, we wanted to make one thing clear and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it then with Johnny Phoenix’s “A Note to All the Indigenous People Everywhere” (2010) at McCaig-Welles Gallery, which is on view at Fountain Art Fair.
The National Portrait Gallery has caved under Republican political pressure and removed a potentially “offensive” video work by David Wojnarowicz, a multi-media artist who was felled by AIDS in 1992, from its Hide/Seek exhibition. The exhibition, deemed brave and important by critics, uncovers previously-veiled LGBT influences in the history of art. Yet threats and demands that the exhibition be canceled from Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have caused the NPG to remove Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire In My Belly,” a video that features a brief clip of ants crawling over a crucifixion Jesus figure.
A number of news sources are reporting that Chinese art great Ai Weiwei is under house arrest in his north Beijing home. “I am under house arrest,” Mr Ai told The Daily Telegraph by telephone. “They asked me not to go and to tell everyone the party was off, but I said I couldn’t do that and they’d have to stop me.”
In case you haven’t heard from the star’s overactive Twitter account, Kanye’s latest album is called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the just-released album cover art pretty much matches the title.
Following Kanye’s GOOD Friday single series which also featured the artist, the album cover is painted by none other than 1980s art world wunderkind George Condo. The image depicts a bear-like Kanye reclining on a bright blue couch, a naked human/bird hybrid with a polka-dotted (snow leopard?) tail perches on his leg and shrieks into the foreground, a classic Condo grin on her face. I would tell you this is a fine example of Fauvist coloring, but somehow it seems unnecessary.