A Fire in My Belly
Region: North America
Medium: Film Video
Artist: David Wojnarowicz
Confronting Bodies: Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough
Dates of Action: November/December 2010
Location: National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Description of Artwork: This four-minute long video commentary on AIDS (cut down from the original thirteen minutes) features a compilation of scenes from Mexico. "These sequences are punctuated, very briefly, with a few other images: a suspended world globe; a cartoonish dancing puppet wearing a sombrero; a disembodied hand dropping coins." (NY Times article) Also included are images of a cockfight, street beggars, weaponized police officers, Day of the Dead paraphernalia, and a man sewing his own lips shut. The most widely offensive part of the video work is a shot in which ants are crawling over a crucifix.
The Incident: Many conservatives protested the inclusion of this piece in the larger exhibit it was a part of, as they were offended by what they considered to be sacrilegious content.
Results of Incident: Although the work was ultimately removed from the exhibit, the Internet allowed for millions more to view the video than would have ever been able to otherwise; "A Fire in My Belly" was posted to YouTube, among other video-hosting sites.