Warhol to cut off Smithsonian | Rock Candy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Warhol to cut off Smithsonian

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 12:31 PM

A still from A Fire in My Belly
  • A still from "A Fire in My Belly"

Max blogged the other day Frank Rich's excellent column about the removal of the video "A Fire in My Belly" from a Smithsonian exhibit. The video, created by a grieving David Wojnarowicz after his partner died of AIDS, depicts in one part ants crawling on a crucifix.

Now, Joel Wachs, president of the Andy Warhol Foundation, which put up $100,000 for the exhibit, "Hide/Seek," at the National Portrait Gallery, says the foundation will not support future Smithsonian exhibits unless "Fire in My Belly" is restored to the show. The $100,000 it provided for the show was part of a $375,000 donation the foundation gave the Smithsonian.

With the new conservatism washing over D.C, expect to see a huge jump in Thomas Kinkade exhibits at publicly funded galleries.

In the Arts: Foundation Threatens Money Cut Over Smithsonian Exhibit
December 14, 2010, 12:01 pm
A principal sponsor of the Smithsonian show from which a controversial video was pulled says it will not support future projects at the institution unless the work is restored, writes The Washington Post.

In a letter sent to G. Wayne Clough, the head of the Smithsonian, Joel Wachs, president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, called the withdrawal of David Wojnarowicz’s video, “A Fire in My Belly,” from a National Portrait Gallery exhibition on sexual difference and desire in art “blatant censorship.”

“We cannot stand by and watch the Smithsonian bow to the demands of bigots who have attacked the exhibition out of ignorance, hatred, and fear,” said the letter.

Mr. Clough responded Monday in a statement: “While we regret the foundation’s action, the Smithsonian’s decision to remove the video was a difficult one and we stand by it.”

The foundation contributed $100,000 for the show as part of a $375,000 donation for Smithsonian projects. The museum pulled the Wojnarowicz video amid complaints from conservatives over a snippet of the work that features ants crawling on a crucifix.

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