In what is likely the strongest institutional response to Smithsonian secretary G. Wayne Clough’s censorship of the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” the Museum of Modern Art has acquired David Wojnarowicz’s video “A Fire in My Belly” (1986-87). MoMA has acquired both the original 13-minute version and a 7-minute excerpt prepared by the artist. The work goes on view at the museum today.
Clough kicked off a firestorm by removing “A Fire in My Belly” from “Hide/Seek” late last year. His decision has been nearly unanimously criticized by art museums and by associations of art museums and curators. Clough has yet to publicly explain his actions, but is expected to finally take questions from the press next week, in Los Angeles.