After outraging the art world, several of its funders, and a giant chunk of its constituency with its fatal decision to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” show, the Smithsonian has chosen to respond to its critics in a dramatic, and rather odd, fashion: instead of returning the work to the exhibition, the institution has turned the National Portrait Gallery’s Web site into an all-Wojnarowicz-all-the-time resource center, complete with a “special online-only screening” of the original 13-minute long version of “Fire in My Belly.”
Odd, indeed, in light of the Smithsonian’s only vaguely apologetic official position on the incident. In fact, the http://www.nationalportraitgallery.us/ website is a hoax. NPG’s real website can be found at http://www.npg.si.edu/ and contains precious little under the search term “Wojnarowicz”: namely a rather lame attempt to justify the censorship. The hoax website, though professionally done – and succeeding to fool many a visitor – presents widely available information about Wojnarowicz and the censorship incident. We would love to hear your opinions on this attempt at culture jamming!