The Gift of Censorship   01.20.11

I am, perhaps unfortunately, thinking about the upshot of the media attention recently garnered by The National Portrait Gallery for its censorship of the David Wojnarowicz film A Fire in my Belly. And, on the heels of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I am thinking about freedom.

It seems clear, once again, that the civil rights so passionately fought for just a few decades ago can not be taken for granted. Conversations about what is truly our collective history--the Stonewall riots, the presence of HIV and AIDS, the politics of diversity--remain relevant and desperately needed. While I would never wish for the kind of censorship we've all been witness to, I have to be thankful that more people will be exposed to, and reminded of, the work of artists like David Wojnarowicz and the forum for dialogue and understanding that it provides.

Here's a link to Untitled (Burning Man), the first piece of Wojnarowicz's that I was privileged to see, during my first years at Oberlin College: I can recall being startled by its power, and humbled by its messages. Having a visual language when we think about these issues is so important.

If you're interested in other issues of censorship, check out the National Coalition Against Censorship:

Sarah Beiderman
Manager, SPACES World Artists Program

Keywords: aids, censorship, david wojnarowicz, film, h.i.v., queer, video art
Category: General


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