Get These Motherfucking Ants Off My Motherfucking Cross

The Censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire In My Belly” from “Hide/Seek” at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery
Part 1 of 3

Chicago artist and writer Jeriah Hildwine discusses the Culture War of the 80’s in relationship to the recent censorship scandal at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery. Referencing Robert Mapplethorpe, Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili, Hildwine places the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly within the context of the ongoing conflict between the religious right and the art community.

The controversies surrounding Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano were probably the hottest the culture wars got; one could think of them as the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Culture Wars although this might be pushing the analogy a bit far. Since that time, there was a brief conflict surrounding Chris Ofili’s work “The Holy Virgin Mary” at the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, “Sensation” in 1999. A court resolved this into status quo ante, with mayor Rudy Giuliani forced to restore funding to the museum, which he had pulled in response to the “Sensation” exhibition and Ofili’s work in particular.

Read the article in its entirety on Art Talk Chicago.