A Fire in My Belly Controversy

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A Fire In My Belly in the Hide/Seek exhibit

On October 30th, 2010, the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. opened the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, curated by Jonathan David Katz. The exhibition featured a 4.16 minute film, credited as “A Fire In My Belly” by the artist David Wojnarowicz. However, Wojnarowicz never publicly displayed A Fire In My Belly in a finished form, and the version shown at the Smithsonian was created specifically for Hide/Seek by Katz and the artist Bart Everly, with permission from the Wojnarowicz estate.

This edit was created from footage found on a Super 8mm reel of film acquired by the Fales Library and Special Collections in 2000, which was labeled (by Wojnarowicz himself) “Mexico, etc... Peter, etc…For Michael Lupetin.”

Mexico, etc... was created by Wojnarowicz and a collaborator (Marion Scemama) specifically for use in Rosa von Praunheim’s 1990 documentary Silence=Death, which was about artists and AIDS. Michael Lupetin was the producer on that project.

However, the footage on Mexico, etc… correlates closely to another reel of Super 8mm film and a shooting script also held in the Wojnarowicz Papers, both of which were labeled “A Fire In My Belly” by Wojnarowicz. According to a timeline written for the catalog of his 1990 show Tongues of Flame, Wojnarowicz considered A Fire In My Belly unfinished, writing that he “went through 2 versions then disassembled for other projects.”[1] The version shown in Hide/Seek featured at least one frame from every individual shot in “Mexico, etc…” although not in the same order as they were presented in the original.

The film shown in Hide/Seek used an audio recording from the Wojnarowicz Papers at the Fales Library as a soundtrack, which was recorded at a 1989 ACT UP demonstration attended by Wojnarowicz.

In the National Portrait Gallery, this film was placed in a room dedicated to AIDS-related artwork. The film was installed on a touch screen, which required visitors to activate it specifically.

Curatorial Intentions

Jonathan David Katz stated that he wanted to show Wojnarowicz’s film work, but none of his films were under four minutes, the limit imposed by the National Portrait Gallery. However, he felt that there was precedent for re-editing the raw footage on Mexico, etc… since it had been used in Silence=Death.

Katz’s goal was to make a version of A Fire In My Belly that was explicitly about AIDS; however, he also believed that the original film, as created by Wojnarowicz, was about the AIDS crisis. He stated that “[A Fire In My Belly] is about AIDS, but its metaphorical relationship to AIDS is so fine that it doesn’t even get noticed.”[2]

Eleven Controversial Seconds

The controversy over A Fire In My Belly centered around eleven seconds of footage of ants crawling over a crucifix, an image that Wojnarowicz had recorded in 1986 during a trip to Mexico. This begins at the two minute mark in Bart Everly’s website.

Wojnarowicz frequently used ants in his work. During the filming session for this segment of A Fire In My Belly, he also recorded ants walking on a clock face, toy soldiers, coins, and other everyday objects. In a 1989 interview, he stated that

Animals allow us to view certain things that we wouldn't allow ourselves to see in regard to human activity. In the Mexican photographs with the coins and the clock and the gun and the Christ figure and all that, I used the ants as a metaphor for society because the social structure of the ant world is parallel to ours.

According to his biographer, Cynthia Carr, Wojnarowicz’s use of ants represented “humanity rushing along, heedless of what lies under its tiny feet, indifferent to the structures that surround it.”[3]

Timeline of the Controversy

November 29th – The Controversy Begins

NB: Unless otherwise specified, all references to A Fire In My Belly below refer to the version created by Jonathan David Katz and Bart Everly for the Hide/Seek exhibit.

On November 29th, one month after Hide/Seek opened, the Christian News Service published an article by Penny Starr entitled “Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts.”[4] The Christian News Service is a division of the Media Research Center, a conservative organization whose mission is to “prove—through sound scientific research—that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.”[5]

A photo of the film in the exhibition, taken by Starr, was included at the top of the article, with the caption “A crucifix in the video A Fire in My Belly, part of the ‘'Hide/Seek'’ exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The image shows Christ on the cross with ants crawling over his body and face.”

The article went on to describe the piece and Wojnarowicz at length, saying:

“A Fire in My Belly” was created by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992). The full-length version of this 1987 video, according to the description at the exhibit, is 30 minutes long. The version viewable in the National Portrait Gallery has been edited down to 4 minutes. The description says, “A Fire in My Belly, a compilation of footage largely shot in Mexico, weaves together numerous images of loss, pain, and death into a metaphor for the AIDS epidemic; it concludes in a picture of the world aflame.”

The description speaks of the video artist's "poetic, yet furious, condemnation of the way greed, religion, and selfishness conspire to label certain people as outside the scope of our caring." It also quotes Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS, as saying, “When I was told I’d contracted the virus, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I’d contracted a diseased society as well.”

The four-minute version of the video shown in the exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery shows, among other images, ants crawling over the image of Jesus on a crucifix, two halves of a loaf of bread being sewn together, the bloody mouth of a man being sewn shut, a hand dropping coins, a man undressing, a man's genitals, a bowl of blood, and mummified humans.

A differently edited four-minute version of Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video posted on YouTube shows images of ants crawling over the image of Jesus (as does the version exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery), but also shows a man masturbating (an image which is not included in the edited version exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, which only shows a man's genitals.). The YouTube version also carries a soundtrack that is different from the version exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery.

Wojnarowicz’s collected papers and work are held by the Fales Library and Special Collections in New York City. CNSNews.com contacted the library to verify the authenticity of the edited version of the "A Fire in My Belly" video posted on YouTube. Marvin J. Taylor, the director at the library, told CNSNews.com that the edited YouTube version of the video “is accurate in that it is part of Fire in My Belly. David [Wojnarowicz] had a cutting script for the film that includes these scenes, plus others. The score by Diamanda [on the YouTube version of the video] is not original.”

Brent Phillips, the media specialist and processing archivist at the Fales Library and Special Collections, said the library supplied the "moving image material" for the video to the National Portrait Gallery, but added that he has "not seen the 'edit' that is currently part of the exhibit." The soundtrack for the video in the exhibit "came from an audiocassette in the David Wojnarowicz Papers here at Fales" and "is of an ACT-UP demonstration from June 1989," said Phillips in an e-mail to CNSNews.com. "The sound was added for the exhibit, but as stated, we have not seen the combined edit."

National Portrait Gallery historian and exhibit co-curator David C. Ward told CNSNews.com in an e-mail that “A Fire in My Belly” reflects the “violent, disturbing and hallucinatory” aspects of the AIDS epidemic.

“Fire in My Belly is an example of political engagement in artistic form with the AIDS epidemic by an artist deeply concerned with the exploration of our response to that medical and societal calamity,” Ward said. “That it is violent, disturbing, and hallucinatory precisely replicates the impact of the disease itself on people and a society that could barely comprehend its magnitude.”

“The museum was careful to edit the video for a museum audience,” Ward said. “It is a 4-minute sample of a much longer work and the curators and the museum were aware of our responsibility in introducing a difficult piece of work about an important subject in a way that respects the individual sensibilities of our public.”

A portrait of the video’s creator David Wojnarowicz, buried up to his face, is also in the exhibit. The catalog description says of the image: “Here, on the brink of a premature death, Wojnarowicz is at once disappearing peacefully into the American landscape and being violently suffocated by it.”

The Smithsonian-published catalog also notes (p. 54) that “Wojnarowicz earned a reputation for public, and for many, an utterly cathartic, portrait of rage.” It then quotes a passage from Wojnarowicz’s 1991 book, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, in which the artist writes of daydreaming about shooting darts dipped in HIV-positive blood into the necks of politicians and expresses his enmity for “walking swastikas that wear religious garments.”

“… and I’m waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping Amazonian blowdarts in ‘infected blood’ and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastikas that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions,” the Smithsonian catalog (p. 54) quotes Wojnarowicz as writing.

November 30th – The Catholic League Issues A Call to Action

Within twenty-four hours, The Catholic League – a powerful, conservative pro-Catholic organization – issued a press release that described the film as showing “large ants eating away at Jesus on a crucifix.”[6]

The press release acknowledged the scholarly understanding that the ants were not intended as a blasphemous image, stating:

Like others who have attacked Christians before with their “art,” [David Ward, co-curator of Hide/Seek] says the ants crawling all over Jesus represent “the lack of attention to Christian teachings.” So the ants are actually giving Christians a wake-up call! How thoughtful.

The press release ended by stating:

It does not matter that private sources funded this exhibition: the majority of the money afforded the Smithsonian Institution comes from the taxpayers. Accordingly, I am writing today to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees asking them to reconsider future funding.

Numerous politicians (primarily Republicans), condemned the work, Wojnarowicz, the entire exhibit, and the Smithsonian as a whole, with phrases taken directly from The Catholic League and The Christian News Service. Georgia Representative Jack Kingston said on Fox News that:

If they’ve got money to squander like this – of a crucifix being eaten by ants, of Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, men in chains, naked brothers kissing – then I think we should look at their budget.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he went on to advocate “calling them [the Smithsonian] up in front of the Appropriations Committee, asking for some resignations, auditing all their budget — all their books.”[7]

Shortly after the Catholic League issued their press release, House-Majority-Leader-Elect Eric Cantor issued a statement saying:

When a museum receives taxpayer money, the taxpayers have a right to expect that the museum will uphold common standards of decency. The museum should pull the exhibit and be prepared for serious questions come budget time.

Cantor also called the film an “outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season."[8]

Incoming House Speaker John Boener also weighed in, stating that:

American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds in a tough economy… Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves to end the job-killing spending spree in Washington.[8]

By the end of the day, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, had pulled the film from the exhibition, without consulting the curators or the National Portrait Gallery.

December 1st – Counter Protests Begin

On December 1st, also known as World AIDS Day, Transformer Gallery in DC placed a monitor playing A Fire In My Belly in their street facing windows, to protest its removal from Hide/Seek. They also announced plans for a silent march from Transformer Gallery to the National Portrait Gallery on the evening of December 2nd.

PPOW Gallery, which represents the Wojnarowicz estate, made two versions of A Fire In My Belly viewable on its website: the entire seven-minute reel labeled “Mexico, etc…” that Katz had used as source material, and a thirteen-minute Super 8mm reel of related footage, also contained in the Wojnarowicz archive at the Fales Library and Special Collections, which Wojnarowicz himself had labeled “A Fire In My Belly.” They also made DVDs of these works available to any institution that wanted to show them.

PPOW Gallery also issued an Official Statement on the controversy, which read:

PPOW and The Estate of David Wojnarowicz disagree with the Smithsonian's decision to withdraw the artist's 1987 film piece "A Fire in My Belly" from the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition entitled "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture." PPOW has represented Wojnarowicz's work since 1988 and maintained a close working relationship with the artist until his death in 1992. The gallery now represents his estate.

On behalf of the estate, the gallery would like to offer the artist's words to illuminate his original intentions. In a 1989 interview Wojnarowicz spoke about the role of animals as symbolic imagery in his work, stating, "Animals allow us to view certain things that we wouldn't allow ourselves to see in regard to human activity. In the Mexican photographs with the coins and the clock and the gun and the Christ figure and all that, I used the ants as a metaphor for society because the social structure of the ant world is parallel to ours."

The call for the removal of "A Fire in My Belly" by Catholic League president William Donahue is based on his misinterpretation that this work was "hate speech pure and simple." This statement insults the legacy of Wojnarowicz, who dedicated his life to activism and the arts community. David Wojnarowicz's work is collected by international museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Whitney Museum, The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Reina Sofia in Madrid, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, etc. Wojnarowicz is also an established writer; his most well known memoirs are Close to the Knives and Memories That Smell Like Gasoline, which are included on many university syllabi.

In 1990 the artist won a historic Supreme Court case, David Wojnarowicz v. American Family Association. The courts sided with Wojnarowicz after he filed suit against Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association, who copied, distorted and disseminated the artist's images in a pamphlet to speak out against the NEA's funding of exhibits that included art works of Wojnarowicz and other artists. We are deeply troubled that the remarks, which led to the removal of David's work from Hide/Seek, so closely resemble those of the past. Wojnarowicz's fight for freedom of artistic expression, once supported by the highest court, is now challenged again. In his absence, we know that his community, his supporters, and the many who believe in his work will carry his convictions forward.[9]

December 2nd – The Protests Spread

Over 100 people marched from the Transformer Gallery to the National Portrait Gallery with their mouths symbolically taped shut. The gallery also issued a letter to the Smithsonian, calling on them to reinstate the work.[10]

Julia Haas and Alison Maurer, both former students of Jonathan David Katz at Smith College, created the website HideSeek.org, which featured both films put online by PPOW Gallery.[11] They also began contacting museums and galleries around the country, asking them to host screenings, and created a list of institutions screening the film worldwide.

December 3rd – The Association of Art Museum Directors Weighs In

In a press release (since removed from their website), the Association of Art Museum Directors strongly rebuked the Smithsonian for their decision. In part, the statement read:

More disturbing than the Smithsonian’s decision to remove this work of art is the cause: unwarranted and uninformed censorship from politicians and other public figures, many of whom, by their own admission, have seen neither the exhibition as a whole or this specific work. The AAMD believes that freedom of expression is essential to the health and welfare of our communities and our nation. In this case, that takes the form of the rights and opportunities of art museums to present works of art that express different points of view.[12]

December 4th – Protests Inside the Smithsonian

On December 4th, Michael Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone were arrested inside the National Portrait Gallery, for handing out leaflets about the controversy while wearing iPads hung around their necks that were playing A Fire In My Belly. Both were originally banned from returning to the Smithsonian for life, though those bans were later removed.[13]

December 6th & 7th – The Smithsonian Responds

On December 6th, the Smithsonian issued a short statement of support for the exhibit as a whole. In it, they referred to “A Fire In My Belly” as “a four-minute video created as a complex metaphor for AIDS.” However, they stood behind their decision to remove the piece from the show, as the “attention it was receiving distracted from the overall exhibition.”[14]

On December 7th, the Smithsonian released a longer Q&A regarding the exhibit, the protests, and the counter protests.[15]

Further Showings & Protests

Many institutions around the country arranged screenings and protests in solidarity. There is no complete list of all the institutions that participated, however, it is known that the following institutions screened A Fire In My Belly in some form:[16]

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
    • Santa Fe Art Institute
    • Tucson Artist & Musician’s Healthcare Association – ‘The Great Cover Up’ Event
    • Casa Libre en la Solana
  • California
    • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF)
    • SF Camerawork (SF)
    • SF MOMA
    • Fivepoints Arthouse (SF)
    • Southern Exposure (SF)
    • University of San Francisco (SF)
    • Stanford Art Department (Palo Alto)
    • UAG Gallery at the University of California, Irvine (Irvine)
    • University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley)
    • Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LA)
    • REDCAT Gallery (LA)
    • Workspace (LA)
    • CB1 Gallery (LA)
    • Hammer Museum (LA)
    • Downtown LA Art Walk (LA)
    • Otis College of Art and Design (LA)
    • Gallery km (LA)
    • Young Project (LA)
    • Claremont Graduate University Art Dpt (Claremont)
    • Gualala Art Center (Gualala)
    • Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (La Jolla)
  • Connecticut
    • Real Art Ways (Hartford)
    • Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford)
    • Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield)
  • Iowa
    • Public Space One (Iowa City)
  • Georgia
    • Emory University (Atlanta)
  • Illinois
    • Nightingale Theater (Chicago)
    • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
    • University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art
    • Iceberg Projects (Chicago)
    • Colombia College, Chicago Library
  • Indiana
    • Indianapolis Museum of Art
    • Heron School of Art and Design IUPUI (Indianapolis)
  • Louisiana
    • New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans
  • Massachusetts
    • Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston)
    • The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University (Waltham)
  • Maine
    • SPACE Gallery (Portland)
  • Michigan
    • University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design
  • Minnesota
    • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis)
  • New Jersey
    • Gallery Aferro
  • New Mexico
    • Sante Fe Institute of Art
  • New YorkGeorge Eastman House (Rochester)
    • Light Work (Syracuse)
  • North Carolina
    • Queer Explorers Club (Greensboro)
    • The Pinhook (Durham)
    • Ackland Art Museum (Chapel Hill)
    • Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro)
  • Ohio
    • Wexner Center for the Arts (Colombus)
    • Wright State University (Dayton)
    • Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland
    • SPACES (Cleveland)
  • Oregon
    • Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland)
    • Publication Studio (Portland)
    • Rocks Box Fine Arts (Portland)
    • Blue Sky, the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts (Portland)
    • Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland)
    • Rocksboxfineart State University Art Dept. (Portland)
  • Pennsylvannia
    • Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh)
    • Mattress Factory (Pittsburg)
    • Wood Street Galleries (Pittsburg)
    • Allegheny College (Meadville)
    • Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
    • Tyler School of Art, Temple University (Philadelphia)
  • Rhode Island
    • AS220 (Providence)
    • Roger Williams University (Bristol)
  • Texas
    • Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston)
    • Glassell School of Art (Houston)
    • Blanton Museum, University of Texas (Austin)
    • Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin)
  • Virginia
    • 1708 Gallery (Richmond)
  • Washington
    • Henry Art Gallery (Seattle)
    • Greg Kucera Gallery, Inc. (Seattle)
    • Hedreen Gallery at Seattle University
    • Seattle Art Museum
    • Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle)
  • Wisconsin
    • Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Washington, DC
    • Transformer Gallery
    • Mike Blasenstein, pop-up gallery in front of Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery
    • Museum of Censored Art
  • Canada
    • Gallery 101 (Ottowa)
  • France
    • Yvone Lambert Gallery (Paris)
  • Germany
    • Silver Future (Berlin)
  • Netherlands
    • Project Goleb (Amsterdam)
  • UK
    • Courtauld Institute of Art (London)
    • Tate Modern (London)


At the Smithsonian

A Fire In My Belly was never re-instated at the National Portrait Gallery installation of Hide/Seek, however, it was re-instated for future installations of the exhibit at other institutions. As a result, the Warhol Foundation, which had funded the Smithsonian installation, announced that they would not fund future exhibitions at the Smithsonian.

In an interview on January 19th, 2011, Clough defended his decision to remove the piece, saying “We had to act rather quickly because of the world we live in of quick news cycles… But looking back, sure, I wish I had taken more time. We have a lot of friends who felt left out. We needed to spend more time letting our friends know where this was going. I regret that."[17]

After the controversy, the Smithsonian Board of Regents convened a panel of experts, which recommended that “in the absence of actual error, changes to exhibitions should not be made once an exhibition opens without meaningful consultation with the curator, director, secretary and the leadership of the Board of Regents.”[18]

At the Fales Library

The proliferation of versions of A Fire in My Belly being shown publicly, along with inaccurate statements made about them in the media, prompted Marvin Taylor and Brent Phillips at the Fales Library and Special Collections to release a fact sheet about A Fire In My Belly. It stated:

In the rush of reporting on the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of David Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly several inaccuracies have been reported and reprinted/posted.

Below are some corrections to those errors based on the primary source material held in the David Wojnarowicz Papers at Fales Library, New York University.

1. A Fire in My Belly was originally shot on Super8mm film and did not have a completed soundtrack. It is not a “video.”

2. A Fire in My Belly was never completed by Wojnarowicz. A text panel at the end of the film reads: “Film In Progress, David Wojnarowicz, 1986-7.”

3. The incomplete A Fire in My Belly runs 13 minutes. Had it been completed it would have run longer. We have a cutting script Wojnarowicz was working from, thus we know that there are sections not included in this segment.

4. A Fire in My Belly was not created as an homage to Peter Hujar. In fact, it is questionable if it was created as a response to AIDS. It predates Wojnarowicz’s finding out that he was HIV positive and the change in his work that reflects his status.

5. An additional section/chapter/excerpt from A Fire in My Belly was located on another film reel in Wojnarowicz’s collection. It runs 7 minutes. These sections are listed in the cutting script under the section heading “Prostitution.”. This section was used by Wojnarowicz and Rosa von Praunheim in von Praunheim’s film Silence = Death, 1989. We have a super8 film roll that Wojnarowicz titled that reads “Peter, etc…. Mexico, etc.” and contains the name “Michael Lupetin” written in pencil and has Wojnarowicz’s phone number “228-7024 NYC”—all written in Wojnarowicz’s hand. Lupetin was the producer of Silence=Death. Based on the edge code, the film stock is dated 1986-7.

6. A 4-minute edit of this 7-minute excerpt was used in the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery with an added soundtrack derived from an audiocassette from Wojnarowicz’s Papers of a June 1989 ACT-UP demonstration. This added soundtrack was not part of the artist’s original work and/or vision and probably has led people to think that A Fire in My Belly was about the AIDS crisis. The addition of this soundtrack was approved by the Wojnarowicz estate.

7. The YouTube version of FIMB with music from Plague Mass by Diamanda Galas was loaded by Semiotext(e). This version originally appeared in Rosa von Praunheim’s film Silence = Death, 1989. The master footage for this version with the Galas soundtrack is not in the David Wojnarowicz Papers at the Fales Library nor is there any indication that Wojnarowicz created this version. It is debatable whether the piece included in von Praunhiem's film could be called A Fire in My Belly. The most we can accurately say is that the footage was removed by Wojnarowicz from A Fire in My Belly and given to Michael Lupetin for use in Silence=Death.

8. We do not know why Wojnarowicz never completed A Fire in My Belly.


Michael Blasenstein
Blasenstein was an artist and activist who protested the removal of A Fire In My Belly from the Hide/Seek exhibit.

Cynthia Carr
Carr knew and wrote about Wojnarowicz during his life, and is also the author of his biography, Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz.

G. Wayne Clough
Clough was the Secretary of the Smithsonian who made the decision to remove A Fire in My Belly from the Hide/Seek exhibition.

Bart Everly
Everly created the four-minute A Fire In My Belly edit, under the supervision of Jonathan Katz, exhibited as A Fire in My Belly for the National Portrait Gallery's Hide/See: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition.

Julia Haas
Haas was a former student of Jonathan David Katz at Smith College. Along with Alison Maurer, Haas created the website HideSeek.org to promote and track screenings of A Fire In My Belly after its removal from Hide/Seek.

Jonathan David Katz
Katz curated the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which included a four-minute posthumous video edit of Wojnarowicz's Mexico footage.

Michael Dax Iavocone
Iavocone was an artist and activist who protested the removal of A Fire In My Belly from the Hide/Seek exhibit.

Michael Lupetin
Lupetin was the producer for Silence=Death. His name appears on the canister for Mexico...etc...Peter...etc.

Alison Maurer
Maurer was a former student of Jonathan David Katz at Smith College. Along with Julia Haas, Maurer created the website HideSeek.org to promote and track screenings of A Fire In My Belly after its removal from Hide/Seek.

Brent Phillips
Phillips is the Media Archivist for Fales Library and Special Collections and has spoken out about the misconceptions surrounding A Fire in My Belly. He appeared on a panel discussion about Wojnarowicz's audio, specifically sharing his knowledge on the Mexico Soundtrack.

Penny Starr
Starr is a journalist with the Christian News Service. Starr wrote the article that launched the controversy over A Fire In My Belly in the Hide/Seek exhibit.

Marvin Taylor
Taylor is the Director of Fales Library and Special Collections and has published and spoken numerous times on the misconceptions surrounding A Fire in My Belly

Rosa von Praunheim
von Praunheim directed Silence=Death, where footage from Mexico...etc...Peter...etc was used.

David Ward
Ward co-curated Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery.