Brooklyn Museum Crucifix – A major exhibition that includes a film of ants crawling on a crucifix opens next week at the Brooklyn Museum, an institution known for presenting edgy and bold artworks that in the past included a painting of the Virgin Mary that incorporated elephant dung.
“A Fire in My Belly” is a film by the late David Wojnarowicz that was pulled from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., when the exhibition was shown there last year. The ant scene angered some in Congress, and the Catholic League called the work sacrilegious.
It is one of more than 100 pieces in “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” the first major museum exhibition to explore how gender and sexual identity have shaped American art.
Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold Lehman said Wednesday that the museum wanted to present the exhibition “clearly because it’s such an important aspect of American art in the 20th century.”
“We decided to reconstitute it as originally planned by the curators. We haven’t changed the exhibition in any way other than having to replace a handful of works of art that were otherwise promised to other exhibitions or institutions,” he added.
Wojnarowicz’s work explores the subject of AIDS and was created before the artist was diagnosed with the disease, which claimed his life at age 37 in 1992.
The ant scene fills only 10 seconds of the short film, which was shot on Super8 film and later transferred to video.