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Protestors Await Smithsonian's VP at the Biltmore

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at 01:13PM
Still from 'A Fire in My Belly' David Wojnarowicz / Courtesy CB1 Gallery

"Anti-Christian" images in David Mojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly" caused the piece to be removed from Smithsonian exhibit.

Activists will gather outside of the Millennium Biltmore tomorrow afternoon to protest the presence of Wayne Clough, who has been under fire since his decision to censor an art video that the Catholic League deemed "anti-Christian" in an LGBT themed art exhibition.

The Smithsonian exhibition titled "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" examined history of art by and about LGBT artists. David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video "A Fire in My Belly" was removed from the exhibition after funders for the museum claimed the video was "hate speech."

The L.A. Times notes that Clough has long been slated to speak at the Town Hall Los Angeles speakers series titled "New Perspectives at the Smithsonian."

Although gallery owners around the country like CB1's Clyde Beswick began showing the video in protest, activists will hold a "funeral procession for freedom of expression" to show their dissatisfaction with Clough's Downtown engagement.

Protestors will be carrying two custom-made artworks that "make reference to the cross that was in the censored video," founder and executive director of L.A.'s Center for the Study of Political Graphics Carol Wells told the L.A. times on Tuesday.

Activists will also be protesting MOCA's director Jeffrey Deitch's decision to paint over an mural at the Geffen Contemporary building.

Wells told the L.A. Times the acts of protest works to reduce the seemingly increasing trend of art censorship in a modern era. "The whole point of art is to be provocative and informative and inspirational," she said.

The protest will begin at 11am at the Millennium Biltmore (506 S. Grand Ave).

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