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Posted inNews

Smithsonian Ban for 2 Activists Showing Wojnarowicz Video


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]

Posted inNews

DC Arts Community Protests Smithsonian Censorship (Photos)

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

Posted inOpinion

Smithsonian Cowering From Idiots (video)

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.

Posted inArt

By Self-Censoring, Smithsonian Betrays Art’s Integrity

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.

Posted inNews

Smithsonian Show Not “Gay” Enough for Artinfo?

A Facebook post is sometimes a dangerous thing. When Artinfo’s “What’s Troubling about the Smithsonian’s Gay Art Show,” re-titled “What’s Troubling About the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek Show,” article was posted to their Facebook page, it was re-captioned with the admittedly punchy line: “Are sexuality and gender appropriate themes for a Smithsonian art exhibition?” The ensuing response thread involved commenters, the show’s curators, and a game of journalistic hedging. It turns out that this “reviewer” hadn’t even seen the show they critiqued.

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