A New Sensation


Unless you have been on a self-imposed media fast, you probably already know that the Brooklyn Museum is opening a controversial new exhibit called HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture on Friday. The first major museum show to focus on sexuality and gender as it is represented in American portraiture, the exhibition culls together a vast array of pieces by artists across the spectrum, from George Bellows to Felix Gonzalez-Torres and everyone in between. Although the show boasts over 100 works of art, one piece is getting considerably more attention than the rest: “A Fire in My Belly,” a video by the late David Wojnarowicz which contains a 12-second depiction of ants crawling on the crucified body of Jesus Christ. The Brooklyn Archdiocese has called upon the museum to pull the piece, which was banned when the exhibition was shown in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. So far, the museum has refused to bow to the pressure and it appears to have the support of local politicians, but the controversy calls to mind Rudy Giuliani’s unpopular stand against the 1999 Sensation exhibit, which included a painting of the Virgin Mary dotted with elephant dung. No matter how you feel about “A Fire in My Belly,” or the rest of the works in HIDE/SEEK, take advantage of the opportunity to see them first-hand and formulate those opinions on your own. The exhibition will run until February 12.

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