Emergency Screening of Censored Film!

December 14, 2010 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

wojnarowicz-1Artist David Wojnarowicz – Silenced!

ArtRage and Light Work will host an emergency screening of David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly, which was recently censored from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Following a screening of the 13-minute video, art historian and critic Nancy Keefe Rhodes and Jeffrey Hoone, CMAC executive director, will have a conversation about the work, its censorship, and possible long-term implications for arts institutions.

Organized as a public response to a challenge of artistic and institutional autonomy, this event seeks to reinstate a dialog that congressional and religious conservatives have attempted to stifle. ArtRage and Light Work join New York gallery PPOW and a host of other arts institutions around the country in a series of screenings that protest this censorship.

On December 1, 2010, World AIDS day, the Smithsonian Institution removed A Fire In My Belly from the current exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. This move occurred after pressure was exerted by the Catholic League and conservative members of Congress who have described the work as hate speech and a waste of taxpayer money. To read more about Republican Representative John Boehner and his threats visit http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/11/us_representative_john_boehner.html Since the removal of the work, public outcry has built across the nation, with The New York Times editors and the Andy Warhol Foundation most recently adding their voices to the protest.

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The 13-minute video, “A Fire in My Belly” (1987) by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) is in part a terrifying shriek against the shocking social indifference to the AIDS crisis then engulfing the United States.  President Reagan’s first remarks on the disease came on May 31, 1987, after more than 20,000 Americans had died. Congress did not enact the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act until three years later. The four-minute video excerpt pulled from the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery includes four brief shots of ants crawling over a small crucifix, which has what appears to be actual blood flowing from the wound in Christ’s side. These images, which last less than 15 seconds, are what some claim to be anti-Christian. To read more about the censorship visit the Los Angeles Times article at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/12/national-portrait-gallery-censored-david-wojnarowicz-video-.html

wojnarowicz NYtimes

Protests at the Smithsonian! Check out this article from the New York Times.

The website http://hideseek.org offers a growing list of arts institutions that are hosting events and screenings in support of Wojnarowicz and freedom of artistic expression. For more information, please contact Mary Goodwin at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or magoodwi@syr.edu