Odds are, you’re probably doing some traveling in 2011. If you’ve got places to go, we’ve got art for you to check out. From Gerhard Richter’s retrospective at the Tate to an exhibition of Gertrude Stein’s personal collection in San Francisco, here are five exhibitions outside of New York to look for in the next year. Better start planning that business trip now!
What do Wikileaks and the art world’s response to the censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” by the Smithsonian have in common? Both make public what elites want to keep secret. They illustrate how little, if anything, can be hidden anymore and demonstrate how the more something is concealed the more the demand for it to be revealed grows.
What the complex and seemingly unrelated stories of Wikileaks and the censorship of “A Fire in My Belly” at the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture highlights is how insiders, or those with insider access, can use their privilege to unsettle the status quo when it isn’t working anymore.
Two new developments in the Wojnarowicz Censorship case since we last reported on the Hide/Seek show and its problems with government censorship and a Smithsonian Secretary who just can’t say sorry … Washington Post‘s Philip Kenicott is asking for Secretary G. Wayne Clough to resign … collector Jim Hedges wants his work by Jack Pierson out of the show …
Today, approximately 400-500 protesters gathered on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum to take part in a rally demanding that the Smithsonian return the censored video by artist David Wojnarowicz, “A Fire In My Belly,” to the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.
Organized by Art+, a New York-based group organizing direct action against the censorship of Wojnarowicz’s video, the march began in the middle of Museum Mile and marched uptown along Fifth Avenue until the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is a Manhattan-based Smithsonian institution.
The scandal that erupted when the Smithsonian’s secretary G. Wayne Clough decided to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibition under Republican political pressure shows no sign of calming down. Only in the past week, the Warhol Foundation has threatened to cease funding the Smithsonian’s programming if the piece isn’t restored (it will not be) and the New York Times has published an op-ed by Frank Rich declaiming the move as “gay-bashing,” and one of the artists involved with the show is requesting his work be removed from the show. The anger has expanded to the extent that some are calling for Secretary Clough, the single individual responsible for the censorship decision, to resign. Here’s why that won’t happen.
At a conversation held with Hide/Seek curators Jonathan Katz and David C. Ward at the New York Public Library December 15th, a few things became clear about the censorship scandal: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan is far from repentant over the decision, and the Catholic League, who initiated the “offense” taken at the video, are largely absent.
Warhol Foundation wants Wojnarowicz brought back to Hide/Seek … Smithsonian says no … Catholics for Choice weigh in …
As the Smithsonian censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video continues to make waves, it’s important to remember that the decision was made not by National Portrait Gallery staff, but by the absentee Smithsonian secretary. A leaked memo drafted by Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan and published by Artinfo demonstrates the internal conflict over the controversial decision.
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.
We’ve all been curious about what David Wojnarowicz’ video looks like installed in the lobby of the New Museum. Well, check it out! Click through for more photos.
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 … [Washington City Paper]
When I saw that the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery chose to remove David Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire in My Belly” from its Hide/Seek exhibition following Republican political pressure, I was embarrassed and a little confused for the museum. Isn’t it the job of the art world to stand up to those who essentialize art as “offensive” or “degenerate,” and represent the minority who find little voice in the mainstream outside of art? By choosing to self-censor rather than bear out a media storm that has now turned against the museum, the Smithsonian sets a precedent by which art exhibitions can be compromised piece by piece simply because their imagery may be disagreeable to some.