Culture Wars, Hide/Seek edition.

December 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Have you heard about the removal of Davis Wojnarowicz’s “Fire in My Belly”from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibition? Right after World Aids Day? Below is the email I sent to the director of the National Portrait Gallery. His email is SullivanM@si.edu.  Please email him and tell him what you think.

Dear Martin E. Sullivan,

I am writing to express my anger and disappointment over your decision to cave to John Bohner and the other reactionaries who insisted that you remove David Wojnarowicz’s “Fire in My Belly” from the exhibition. I understand that once pressured you took less than an hour to remove the video.  At best, your action looks like cowardice, but I am concerned that it also reveals a fundamental lack of integrity and a weakness of character. This is the only explanation that I can come up with for your decision to perpetuate such harm to the culture.

David Wojnarowicz’s work is fearless, difficult, and open.  This is exactly why Bohner and his like are afraid of it; it utterly “refudiates” their narrow, xenophobic, hate-filled worldview — they are working to force the entire nation into submission to this worldview.

As Director of the National Portrait Gallery (absolutely my favorite part of the Smithsonian) you hold a position of trust to the entire nation. You have an obligation either to reinstate “A Fire in My Belly” to the Hide/Seek exhibition and apologize for your error, or to resign. I am writing this on Saturday, December 4th. Please take one of these actions by December 6th, 2010.

Most Sincerely,

Jennifer Blair
Chicago, IL

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