Three Chicago venues are joining the nationwide protest over the removal of David Wojnarowicz's 20-minute experimental film A Fire in My Belly from the Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.
Wojnarowicz made the original 13-minute film in 1986 and 87, in reaction to his mentor and lover, photographer Peter Hujar's death from AIDS, and Wojnarowicz's own diagnosis as HIV positive. Another seven minutes of Wojnarowicz's footage, discovered after his 1992 death, were subsequently added.
The Smithsonian pulled A Fire in My Belly from Hide/Seek on Dec. 1 under pressure from Catholic League president Bill Donahue and congressmen including presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner, who assailed the film's inclusion as "an outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season." Predictably, Fire has since become an online sensation.
A Fire in My Belly screens Saturday 12/11, at the top of every hour through midnight at The Nightingale, Wednesday 12/15 at 4:45 p.m. at the School of the Art Institute's Eye and Ear Clinic, 112 S. Michigan Ave., room 1307, and Tuesday 12/14 through Friday 12/17, 12:30-5:30 p.m. in continuous loop at SAIC's LG Space, 37 S. Wabash Ave., Sharp 220 B.