Tuesday, December 21, 2010
As I'm sure you've heard by now, The National Portrait Gallery ceded to pressure from Christian fundamentalists to censor Hide/Seek, the first exhibition in the U.S. "to examine questions of sexual difference and dissidence in the sweeping context of canonical American art".
In other words, the whole thing was just TOO GAY, dammit!
Never mind that the exhibit was PRIVATELY FUNDED and cost the taxpayer NOTHING.
And that it was being foisted on NO ONE.
Minor details, really.
The offending piece was apparently a 4-minute video entitled "Fire in my Belly" by artist David Wojnarowicz that depicted, among other things, a crucified Jesus statue with ants on it.
It was supposed to represent the suffering of AIDS victims in the 1980's (the artist died in 1992 from complications with the disease).
It was pulled from the exhibit by the Smithsonian without even an eye blink at the first murmur of Republican discontent. (Eric Cantor and John Boehner leading the charge, who else?)
I can't really say if "Fire in my Belly" was offensive, since someone else DID THAT FOR ME.
Thank GOD I don't have to worry my pretty little head about THAT!
But it didn't really sound offensive to me.
It sounded like a piece of art.
Today, artist AA Bronson sent a letter to the museum requesting that his painting Felix, June 5th, 1994, be withdrawn from the exhibit in solidarity with Wojnarowicz.
Bronson's piece depicts his lover in bed, hours after dying to complications from AIDS.
It's truly a haunting, beautiful and heart-breaking image.
And all this reminds me that the Republicans who are trying to censor and silence this artwork are the same Republicans that stood by and allowed an entire generation of gay men perish while they twiddled their thumbs in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, it's always truly inspiring to hear the conservative reaction to all this.
Here's an actual quote from the blog "The New Moderate":
"I ...lament the fragmentation of our society into a myriad of angry victim subcultures. Granted, the members of these subcultures often have much to be angry about, but here’s a little-known secret: so do most of us who don’t belong to those subcultures. Get over it, I want to tell them. Life is hard for nearly everyone, heterosexual white Christian males included."
You know, I couldn't agree more!
I personally would LOVE to hear the harrowing, untold stories of how unfairly heterosexual white Christian males are treated in this country.
Your voices have been silenced long enough, my brothers! Don't be afraid! Speak out!
It's about time some brave, straight guy told us gays to shut the fuck up!
Gee, I've never heard THAT before.
It's like I'm in the High School locker room all over again! Good times.
Actually, when Tommy and I went to DC a year ago, we visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and it was like gay people didn't even exist in America.
There were exhibits about every race and creed and gender and color imaginable.
But no gays.
It was eerie.
You apparently can't even whistle "Over the Rainbow" at the Smithsonian without some right-wing flunky clubbing you over the head.
I found some of the images from "Hide/Seek" on-line, and pasted them below.
Artwork by David Hockney, Annie Leibowitz, Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe...
It's beautiful and provocative and completely inoffensive to me.
But then again, I'm a total fag.