• Advertise with Borderstan!


Categorized | Uncategorized


  • One Photo A Day - Luis Gomez



Transformer Organizes Protest of National Portrait Gallery

Transformer gallery Logan Circle NW "Fire in My Belly"

Thursday evening: Transformer’s Victoria Reis in front of the gallery at 1404 P St. NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

A group gathered in front of the Logan Circle gallery Transformer around 6 pm Thursday to march to the National Portrait Gallery downtown. Organized by the executive director of Transformer, Victoria Reis, the group was protesting the National Portrait Gallery’s decision to remove the 1987 video, Fire in my Belly, from an exhibition. The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Transformer gallery Logan Circle NW "Fire in My Belly"

People gather in front of Transformer to march towards the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday evening. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The 1987 video, Fire in My Belly, is now playing continuously in the front window space at Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. The video was removed from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in downtown DC after complaints about depictions of Jesus. The video will run continuously in Transformer’s front window space until reinstated at the National Portrait Gallery, according to Transformer.

“Your right-wing critics, including in the Congress, know nothing and care nothing about art. They care not a wit about freedom of expression, or free speech, or “the American promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity.” – from Transformer letter to Smithsonian

On its website, Transformer states, “Under pressure from the Catholic League, The Smithsonian Institution has removed this work from the National Portrait Gallery’s current Hide/Seek exhibition. Starting TODAY, DEC. 1, Transformer began showing this video work in our 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC storefront project space, and we will continue to run the video 24 HOURS A DAY until it is reinstated.”

Transformer had copies of a letter that was sent to G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (and available on the website). The letter addresses one of the main criticisms of Fire in My Belly — an image of an ant-covered Jesus. Of this scene, the letter notes:

Wendy Olsoff, who represents the Wojnarowicz’s estate, said: “David believed the imagery of ants’ society was parallel to human society.” You must know – but in the event you do not – we the undersigned are here to tell you that your right-wing critics, including in the Congress, know nothing and care nothing about art. They care not a wit about freedom of expression, or free speech, or “the American promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity.”

You can read the entire letter at the Transformer website.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1219 posts on Borderstan.

Luis Gomez moved to the neighborhood eight years ago and loves music, his dog and photographing D.C. He also has two sites of his own: One Photograph A Day and If She Only Had Thumbs. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos; email him at luis@borderstan.com.

Contact the author

All posts written by this author are copyrighted. Please see our User & Privacy Policies page for more information.

  • One Photo A Day - Luis Gomez


One Response to “Transformer Organizes Protest of National Portrait Gallery”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] protest in font of the National Portrait Gallery, which was organized by local gallery, Transformer. The protest was over NPG’s removal of the 1987 video, Fire in My Belly, from an exhibition. [...]