Organized by PICA and hosted by Museum of Contemporary Craft/PNCA
Participating Institutions and Individuals
Kristan Kennedy, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
Stephanie Snyder, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Gallery, Reed College
Namita Wiggers, Musueum of Contemporary Craft
Matthew Stadler, Publication Studio
Todd Tubutis, Blue Sky Gallery
Portland State University Art Galleries
Charles Voorhies Fine Art Library, Pacific Northwest College of Art
University of Oregon
Ramsey Mc Phillips
On November 30, 2010, the National Portrait Gallery removed David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire In My Belly from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference And Desire in American Portraiture in response to Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, incoming House Speaker John Boehner, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s declaration that the video is a form of “hate speech.” The Smithsonian was wrong to dignify these slanderous accusations and this manufactured outrage.
In life, Wojnarowicz was a victim of bigotry and sustained campaigns by the religious right to revoke funding for the arts during the ‘Culture Wars’ of the late 80s and early 90s. His art—and A Fire in My Belly, in particular—dealt eloquently and powerfully with the issues of being an openly gay man in America, and the harsh realities of living with HIV/AIDS. Wojnarowicz died in 1992 of AIDS-related complications.
In support of Wojnarowicz and in solidarity with artists and institutions throughout the city and across the country, PICA has convened a panel discussion on art and censorship. In addition, all of the participating local institutions will screen A Fire in My Belly and provide a selection of books and related materials for the public to learn about the controversy and the life and work of Wojnarowicz.
For details on PICA’s screening of the film, please click here.
Thank you to the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, for making the video available for screening.
Special thanks to Julia Haas, Jonathan D. Katz, and Alison Maurer for coordinating Hideseek.org and the national effort to draw attention to the issue.