A thank you to the conservative republicans and catholic groups who protested against David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS related film “A Fire in my Belly”, which as a result was removed from the Hide & Seek show at the National Portrait Gallery. Without your efforts, this film would have not gotten the attention it deserves.
And much praise for Mike Blasenstein & Mike Iacovone for defending our freedom of speech/expression. Glad you have been released and hope you’re not too disappointed to never be allowed into the Smithsonian Institution facilities again.
This is the text of the flyer that was handed out by Blasenstein:
I am standing here with this iPad around my neck…
…because politicians and pressure groups don’t want you to see this work of art
…because this work’s detractors have every right to interpret it any way they want
…because so do you
…because I’m tired of people who know better caving in to the hysterics of the misinformed
…because the time our politicians waste vilifying a dead man is time they should be seizing to fix the problems of the living
…because I never believed that the same forces that marginalized this artist twenty years ago would try to silence him today
…because I was wrong
…because by marginalizing the work of the marginalized from an exhibition about marginalization, the censors themselves have provided the ultimate validation of the artist’s work
…because too many gay people—myself included—too often forget that any acceptance we enjoy today was paid for in blood, bruises, and unimaginable suffering by those who came before us
…because suffering is human
…because we are human
…because there are those who will stop at nothing to suppress that truth
…because I refuse to let them
…because silence still equals death.
[on other side]
A Fire In My Belly, 1987 (excerpt). David Wojnarowicz. Music by Diamanda Galás.
David Wojnarowicz created this video in 1987 as a tribute to his colleague and lover, Peter Hujar, who died of AIDS that same year. The video contains some grisly images: Mummified bodies, bloody icons, lips being sewn shut, and 11 seconds of ants crawling on a crucifix. These images represent Wojnarowicz’s feelings of isolation and marginalization as an openly gay man living with AIDS in the 80s — an era in which carriers of the virus were demonized. They are a memento mori, or a reminder of our mortality.
And this is what it is all about…