Fire In The Belly, Or Do Not Be Afraid of the Ants

by
Abby Zimet

 

A new culture war in D.C. over the "Hide/Seek" exhibit at the
Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery depicting AIDS and other sexual
themes. At issue: an 11-second video
by David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, showing ants crawling
over a Christ figure on a cross. Freaked out GOP and religious right
leaders charged
it was a provocation to Christians and an attack on Christmas. Cowed
Smithsonian officials removed it. Furious artists and galleries protested, in part by showing the video. And People For the American Way aptly noted
that if the right wants a government that stays out of our lives and
health care, howcome they're letting it censor our art through
"transparent political bullying"?

"Your right-wing critics know
nothing and care nothing about art. They care not a wit about freedom of
expression, or free speech, or 'the American promise of equality,
inclusion and social dignity'... Do not be afraid of the ants." - open letter to the Smithsonian from the head of the nearby Transformer Gallery, which is showing the video in protest.

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