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Fortunately, I was able to attend a recent ICP Panel dedicated to the recent controversy over David Wojnarowicz’s Fire In My Belly. Although I found the discussion illuminating—I learned so much about the back story surrounding this media event—I did walk away feeling a most uneasy of sorrows. Perhaps it was seeing footage of the Mexican Day of the Dead. It’s part of the video, but seeing that with a full room of people who most likely know at least one person who is HIV positive or has passed away from AIDS…seeing that footage in public, with others around was a totally different experience than seeing it on my computer, outraged at this whole thing. I realized that although censorship has robbed a museum audience of that public but touching ability to connect on this piece, its experience has been made all the more intense. That is one good thing to come out of all this: more people are seeing it, thinking, debating, learning. And hopefully, progressing.
Anyway, I wrote a little something about it, David Wojnarowicz: Convenient Misinterpretations.
Wanda Ewing is an artist from Omaha who I met this past summer, at a lecture about her work. This month, I interviewed Wanda. We talked about race, body image, feminism, art history, and end with an inquiry into the fundamentalist politics of gender: the conservative outrage behind David Wojnarowicz’s Fire in My Belly being pulled from a museum show, would it be the same if it were a video of the Virgin Mary’s body covered in ants?
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I like interpretations of this painting.