Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Fire in My Belly / David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz (September 14, 1954 – July 22, 1992) was a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s.

A Fire in My Belly was made by Wojnarowicz from footage that he made while visiting Mexico. His use of powerful and sometimes brutal imagery expresses his suffering from AIDS and his need to speak out against those who oppress the afflicted.

In November 2010, G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian, removed Wojnarowicz's short silent film A Fire in My Belly from the exhibit "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" at the National Portrait Gallery after complaints from the Catholic League and Rep. John Boehner. One segment of the film shows ants crawling over a crucifix.

In response, The Andy Warhol Foundation, which had co-sponsored the exhibition, announced that it would not fund future Smithsonian projects, while several institutions, including SFMOMA and Tate Modern, scheduled showings of the removed work.

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