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CB1 Gallery to Screen Video Censored by Smithsonian

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, December 07, 2010, at 12:06PM
Clyde Beswick Ed Fuentes

File Photo: Clyde Beswick at CB1 Gallery.

For Clyde Beswick, the upcoming screening of a video art piece removed last week from an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is a protest against censorship, but it's also a way to show that Downtown galleries are serious about art.

Beswick's CB1 Gallery will play “A Fire in My Belly" (1987), a 13-minute film by the late David Wojnarowicz that was, until last week, a part of the Smithsonian's “Hide / Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” an exhibition on gay identity in art.

The short video was pulled after the Catholic League and members of Congress complained it was sacrilegious. Art and gay activists have since demonstrated against the decision, and many art critics have blasted the removal of the video from the exhibition slated to run through February 13.

“I think it's important for all to know that censorship is wrong and that artists deserve to be heard and seen,” said Beswick last night, moments after confirming that he could secure the video art.

It was important for Beswick to get a hold of the video in time for Thursday's Downtown Art Walk. The event has encountered criticism for being more about bars and parties than about the art. Beswick hopes the exhibition will start to change that perception.

“I wanted to do it for Art Walk," he said, “to help establish some seriousness to the art at Art Walk."

"A Fire in My Belly" will be screened through the entranceway window in CB1's West Gallery space during Downtown Art Walk and through the weekend.

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