Joins International Protest Against Censorship
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.
image for enlarged view.
Untitled (One day this
kid...) by David Wojnarowicz.
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,
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 (), 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
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.