Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The end of the controversy surrounding A Fire in My Belly?

When David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly hit the headlines following the Smithsonian's decision to withdraw it from Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian's National Portrait, many commentators talked about a return to the culture wars of the 1990s.

However, this time the controversy has played out differently from the era when Jesse Helms was railing against gay rights and contemporary art.The video made it onto YouTube, reaching millions of viewers who were previously unaware of its existence, MoMA acquired it for its permanent collection, the New Museum showed it continuously in its lobby, it was featured in an event at the Tate Modern to reconsider Wojnarowicz's work in the light if efforts to distort its intentions and legacy, and when the Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio reignited the controversy calling for A Fire in My Belly to be removed from Hide/Seek at the Brooklyn Museum the director of the Museum refused to withdraw the work.

This link takes you to an article in the Financial Times Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture and the controversy surrounding David Wojnarowicz's work.
Image: David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (1987), video still