Finally, another art post! I have been hankering around to post one ever since the post on Whitfield Lovell. I have again been very fortunate to be able to attend David C. Ward of the National Portrait Gallery's lecture when he came to visit the school. His lecture was generally on the Hide/Seek exhibit that was on at the end of last year. However the real reason I went was because of the "A Fire of My Belly" controversy of David Wojnarowicz's video. It is slightly disturbing so for the faint of heart, please watch at your own discretion. Also this full length video is different from the one displayed as part of the show, which had been edited down to four minutes.
I was sad when I learnt that the Smithsonian secretary pulled it from the exhibit. Curator David Ward had anticipated that there would be some sort of uproar over the showcase of prominent American homosexuals, but he said that he did not fully realize the magnitude of how the original message of the show would be misconstrued by Tea Partiers. They made it seems as if Wojnarowicz was trying to make some sort of statement on Christ when in fact, the artist was commenting on AIDS and the suffering of the infected in the late 1980s. The video illustrated the dire situations of those with AIDS as well as the tragic stigma surrounding the disease back in the day.
The gallery received tremendous backlash when it did pull the plug on the video - most notably the Andy Warhol Foundation ceased funding for future Smithsonian exhibits. The matter was further complicated by the fact that the National Portrait Gallery is a public museum funded by tax dollar and not a private institution and therefore had to bow down to public and Federal pressure. I was however, relieved to hear that Ward was fully against the removal of the video even though in the end he could not stop it from happening. Luckily the video can be viewed online despite what had happened. Fortuitously, I also came upon these set of photographs of Jean-Baptiste Mondino (no less!) as the legendary Robert Mapplethorpe for an editorial of Numéro Homme. Mapplethorpe's work was part of the exhibition, making this sort of relevant, in a way.
Images courtesy of MODELS.com Feed