Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fired Up: The Wojnarowicz Controversy Lives On

When the decision-makers at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery decided to drop David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from their exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, they did it hoping to end the controversy. To the credit of the American art community, that act ignited a much larger conflagration. Opponents of the censorship have responded with full force—moral, aesthetic, and financial. Instead of banishing Wojnarowicz’s video to obscurity, conservatives calling for its removal have instead given the late artist a second life and the widespread media attention that comes equally from fame or infamy. Removing “A Fire in My Belly” has fired up those dedicated to the arts and, perhaps, awakened them to the seriousness of the latest battle in the American culture wars. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Fired Up."

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