A Fire in My Belly

On December 1, 2010, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., removed David Wojnarowicz’s video, A Fire in My Belly (1986-87) from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference And Desire in American Portraiture in response to pressure from members of the U.S. Congress and Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, who declared that the video is a form of “hate speech.” Blue Sky remains steadfast—as it has for 35 years—in its support of artists who make art that attempts to shed light on the complexities of human experience. Curatorial decisions continue to be made jointly by the Exhibition Committee, and are done so in the spirit recently conveyed by The Washington Post’s Blake Gopnik:

“Artists have the right to express themselves. Curators have the right to choose the expression they think matters most. And the rest of us have the right to see that expression, and judge those choices for ourselves.”

A Fire in My Belly can be seen online here, courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York. Visitors are also welcome to watch the video in Blue Sky’s Library & Resource Center on our public computer via this blog post.

Blue Sky is also committed to engaging in critical conversations about issues reflected in the artwork it exhibits, or responses that viewers may have to it, whether positive or negative. As an act of solidarity against censorship, we are proud to join other Portland institutions in a public discussion convened by PICA:

Art and Censorship: Portland Responds to Wojnarowicz Controversy Friday, December 17, 2010 6:15 – 7:45 PM Museum of Contemporary Craft: The Lab 724 NW Davis Street Free admission

Please join us. To see how other organizations worldwide are responding, visit hideseek.org.

UPDATE: A podcast and some images from the panel are now available at the Museum of Contemporary Craft's Web site.