Sunday, December 19, 2010

NYC Protest Against Smithsonian Censorship of David Wojnarowicz Video

Hundreds of artists, patrons of the arts, free speech activists, and others gathered for a protest in New York City on Sunday, December 19, 2010, to demonstrate against what activists are calling an act of censorship by the Smithsonian Institution.

An exhibit called Hide/Seek, currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, has attracted controversy, because the Secretary of the Smithsonian ordered the removal of a video from the exhibit,

The video that was removed, entitled, A Fire In My Belly, is described as having an AIDS theme ; it was made by David Wojnarowicz. The video has garnered attention for its provocative images, including one scene where ants are shown to be crawling over a crucifix.

Since the video uses religious imagery in such a provocative manner, among other things, the Catholic League and Congressional Republicans have denounced the video, leading to a decision by G. Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian Secretary, to remove the video from the exhibit.

In response to the video's removal, other museums, foundations, and artists have decried the Smithsonian's decision. Today's protest in New York City was a demonstration against the video's removal, which activists described to be an act of censorship.

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