Public screenings abound for video art censored by Smithsonian

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The Smithsonian Institution’s recent decision to censor a video artwork by the late David Wojnarowicz has spurred a nationwide backlash among critics and arts ogranizations. One form that reaction has taken is the decision by museums and galleries to offer public screenings of the controversial video, titled ‘A Fire in My Belly.’

The video artwork, which dates from 1987, features brief footage of a crucifix covered in ants. The scenes have been a rallying point for a number of conservative politicians and the Catholic League, voicing criticism of the video. The Smithsonian subsequently decided to censor the work, which had been on display at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the ongoing gay-themed exhibition ‘Hide/Seek.’

In recent weeks, the website (which isn’t affiliated with the exhibition or the Smithsonian) has been keeping a running list of the museums and galleries that are showing or planning to show ‘A Fire in My Belly.’

Here are some of the notable venues, categorized by region:

Los Angeles area


The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT): continuous screenings in the lobby during gallery hours (Tuesdays through Sundays, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.) until Dec. 31.

Hammer Museum at UCLA: a continuous loop of the video in the hallway of the Billy Wilder Theater, featuring the original 13-minute version edited by Wojnarowicz as well as the seven-minute version. Through Dec. 17.

CB1 Gallery: screening the video continuously during gallery hours (Thursday and Friday, noon-7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-6 p.m.) through Dec. 19.

New York area

New Museum: screening the video in the lobby during normal hours (Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays through Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) through Jan. 23.

International Center of Photography: screening during normal hours (Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) until Feb. 13.

Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation: screening most of the day in the window facing the street, for an indefinite period.


Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston: until Dec. 24

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: until Dec. 31

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Ore.: until Feb. 13

Southern Exposure, San Francisco: until Feb. 13

The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh: until Feb. 13

-- David Ng


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