A Fire in My Belly

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Date: 2010

Region: North America

Subject: Religious

Medium: Film Video


Fire belly.jpg

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.

Source: NY Times, NPR