Last month I wrote about the controversy surrounding the Smithsonian's decision to remove a video
by the late artist David Wojnarowicz from the museum's exhibits. The film, "A Fire in My Belly" (1986-87) which depicts an 11-second scene of ants crawling on a crucifix, an image that Wojnarowicz said reflected his experience of being diagnosed with AIDS, came under fire the Catholic League and members of Congress said it was sacrilegious. After the exhibit was taken out protesters took to the steps of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery holding up masks of David Wojnarowicz including images of him with his mouth sewn shut. Galleries and museums around the country showed the video
in protest and it popped up on blogs
around the world. Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, became a symbol of censorship and the Andy Warhol Foundation announced that it would withold future funding to the Smithsonian unless the video was restored. Shown at right is a planned event in December, when people including artists and free speech activists converge to support the work of David Wojnarowicz in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York on December 19, 2010.
The artwork now has a new home
. The NY Times reports
that the Museum of Modern Art
in New York has acquired the complete work, both its original 13-minute version and a separate seven-minute excerpt made by the artist. The video has been added to the museum's current exhibition of contemporary art from the collection, which will remain up until May 9. The MoMA is no stranger to controversy. An exhibit held last spring, Marina Abramovic's retrospective, "The Artist is Present,"
featured nude performers and led to some extreme behavior from observers/participants.
As a response to the Smithsonian's removal of the video, a Museum of Censored Art has been installed in a trailer
outside the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The museum is showing the video and plans to maintain the Museum of Censored Art through February 13, when the Smithsonian exhibit,"Hide/Seek" that the video was a part of closes.