A few weeks ago, the Smithsonian removed a work of art from an exhibition over complaints that it was offensive to Christians. Now the Andy Warhol Foundation—which gave $100,000 for the exhibition—says it'll stop funding Smithsonian shows.
"Fire in My Belly," a 1987 work of art by David Wojnarowicz, is a video of a plastic crucifix with ants crawling on it, prominently featured in the exhibition "Hide/Seek" in the National Portrait Gallery. It might be a compelling examination of the iconography of death and the tense relationship of religious mythos to the modern world! Or, it might be a "obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season," which is what Republican Minority Leader Eric Cantor called it after Catholic news organization CNSNews.com brought it to his attention.
The Smithsonian removed "Fire in My Belly" shortly after it became a "thing," because they didn't want to get dragged into another one of these stupid fights, or because they are cowards, depending on how mad you get about stuff. But they messed with the wrong art-people. The Andy Warhol Foundation, which helped fund "Hide/Seek" to the tune of $100,000, now says it'll stop funding Smithsonian exhibition if they don't restore "Fire in My Belly":
In a letter sent on Monday to the head of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, Joel Wachs, the president of the Warhol Foundation, said that the foundation's board voted unanimously on Friday to demand that the Smithsonian restore the work, an excerpt of a video by the artist David Wojnarowicz, to the exhibition or the foundation would reject any future grant requests.
The foundation has given some $375,000 to the Smithsonian over the last three years, but so far the Smithsonian says it's not going to restore "Fire in My Belly."
(The real solution, of course, is to stop fussing around with all this stupid "art," close down the Smithsonian, and start using NEA funds to help make Transformers 3 as bad-ass as it can possibly be.)