“A Fire in My Belly” – Uncensored!

January 12, 2011 to February 13, 2011 - 4:00 PM to 4:00 PM

ArtRage Gallery Speaks Out Against Censorship


See the censored video, A Fire in my Belly, at ArtRage from January 12 thru February 13, 2011

On December 1, World AIDS day, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (a Smithsonian institute) removed the video “A Fire in My Belly,” by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) from it’s exhibit entitled, Hide/ Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, after caving to pressure from the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue.

Donohue has described the video as anti-Catholic “hate speech” because the four-minute video includes a 15-second image of ants crawling over a crucifix. Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner has joined with Donohue and has condemned the show as an “outrageous use of taxpayer money.”

ArtRage views this censorship as a denial of our first amendment rights as artists and citizens as well as an opportunistic attempt to strengthen a homophobic agenda of hate in this country. Hide/Seek is the first major exhibition at the Portrait Gallery to focus on what the museum calls “sexual difference” and  “A Fire in My Belly,” made in 1987, was a response to the AIDS crisis in the U.S. We also believe that this incident will be used as an excuse to decrease public funding for the arts in what seems to be a culture war.

ArtRage has joined with arts organizations all across the U.S. by screening this video, providing space to discuss the art and to discuss the implications of its censoring. We support and defend an artist’s right to use their art for social change.  Consequently, in keeping with our mission, ArtRage will show the Wojnarowicz video in a constant loop in our gallery from January 12 thru February 13, 2011 (scheduled end date for the Smithsonian exhibition).

We are asking that supporters write, email and/or call the Smithsonian, your local newspapers, the White House and your Congresspeople to demand that the video be re-exhibited. Our facebook page includes a sample letter as reference. Thank you.

Please visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/ArtRage-Gallery/126021867428971 for updates on this situation.