January 4 - February 6, 2011
A leading artist of the 1980s, David Wojnarowicz is known for the richly aesthetic and strongly activist works that he made in response to the AIDS crisis. The artist's 1986–87 film A Fire in My Belly is a poetic, unfinished work that was created in part as a tribute to his friend and colleague, Peter Hujar, who died of AIDS.
An excerpt of the work was removed from the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture following protests by a religious group and conservative politicians. In response to the Smithsonian's decision to pull the work, institutions around the country joined together to host screenings as a way to draw attention to its removal and to foster discussion around the work and issues of censorship.
The Smart Museum screened the original, 13-minute version of the film edited by Wojnarowicz in 1986–87 followed by a 7-minute additional chapter that was later found in his collection. It played on continuous loop in a black box screening area.
Presented in the Robert and Joan Feitler Gallery for Contemporary Art.