Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events
Museum of Art press release   Date: 12/14/10 Bookmark and Share

Museum Joins International Protest Against Censorship

Untitled (One day this kid…), by David Wojnarowicz, will be on display through December in the Smith College Museum of Art’s Winslow Teaching Gallery

The following is a statement written by John Davis, associate provost and Dean for Academic Development, as part of a Museum of Art press release.

Click image for enlarged view.

Untitled (One day this kid...) by David Wojnarowicz.

In late November, the National Portrait Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution, succumbed to political pressure from the House of Representatives Republican leadership and lobbying by the Catholic League to remove a work of art, David Wojnarowicz’s video collage, A Fire in My Belly, from their ground-breaking exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” Arts organizations worldwide, including the Association of Art Museum Directors, have decried this act of censorship.

Wojnarowicz produced A Fire in My Belly in 1987, shortly after his partner died of AIDS. His print, Untitled (One Day this Kid…), shown here (view an enlarged image), was created three years later, when downtown New York City was still being decimated by the AIDS epidemic and conservative forces were fighting attempts to provide treatment and education on the grounds that homosexuals and homosexual activity were “immoral.”

The Smith College Museum of Art purchased Untitled (One Day this Kid…) with support from the Dorius/Spofford Fund for the Study of Civil Liberties and Freedom of Expression. The Fund honors former Smith faculty members Joel Dorius and Edward Spofford, dedicated teachers whose employment was terminated by the College in 1961, after it became known that they were homosexual.

Freedom of expression and tolerance are essential for the sustenance of open academic communities, and the rights of museums to present works of art from a variety of perspectives, free of the threat of censorship, must be preserved. The public has been denied access to one work by David Wojnarowicz. We hope that the exhibition of Untitled (One Day this Kid…) at the Smith College Museum of Art will serve as a reminder of our society’s obligation to confront the injustices of the past and to ensure that the discourse of the future is unfettered by inappropriate political pressure.

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z