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.
The video is also available on YouTube — you must sign in to YouTube and affirm that you are at least 18 years of age; length is just over 4 minutes.
Criticism of the video is centered around how images of Jesus are depicted. Blake Gopnik at The Washington Post wrote an article criticizing the removal of the video from the National Portrait Gallery. This evening Gopnik posted another article discussing the video. As noted in The Washington Post, “After the Catholic League complained about a video by David Wojnarowicz containing ants crawling on a cross — part of the sexuality-themed exhibit “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” — the National Portrait Gallery removed the piece.”
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.”
On Thursday, Transformer is organizing a protest march at 6pm from Transformer to the National Portrait Gallery; participants are asked to meet at Transformer at 5:30 pm. The exhibition of “Hide/Seek” and Fire In My Belly at the National Portrait Gallery was paid for with private funds, not U.S. Government monies.