Politics, Art Clash Over Banned Video

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Earlier this month, under pressure from a Catholic group and some conservative members of Congress, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., removed a video from one of its exhibits.

The four-minute video, called "A Fire in My Belly," is by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, and had been part of an exhibition on gay-themed American art.

The video includes imagery of ants crawling over a crucifix, and that scene offended U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor and Speaker-designate John Boehner, who argued that the work was inappropriate for a taxpayer-funded institution. Boehner threatened to cut the Smithsonian's funding if the video was not removed from the exhibit.

Other museums around the country are now showing the video, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

We speak with Jill Medvedow, the ICA's director.


This segment aired on December 22, 2010.


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