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Nude awakening! Brooklyn Museum shows work that was banned in D.C. • Brooklyn Paper

Nude awakening! Brooklyn Museum shows work that was banned in D.C.

The Brooklyn Museum will feature David Wojnarowicz’s controversial video “A Fire in My Belly,” which depicts ants crawling over Jesus on a crucifix, in its new exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”
Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O. W Gallery, The Fales Library and Special Collections/ New York University

Hey, art fans: Thank the lord that you live in Brooklyn!

The Brooklyn Museum’s newest exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” will feature a key piece of art that was censored during the show’s highly politicized stint at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery last year.

A Washington man watches ants crawl on a crucifix in the video, “A Fire in My Belly,” before it was banned from a Smithsonian show. He should come to Brooklyn next week, where the video will be shown as part of a restored exhibit.
Associated Press / Jacquelyn Martin

Beltway lawmakers, lobbyists, and political commentators pressured the institution to remove nude and “sacreligious” images, including artist David Wojnarowicz’s video depicting ants crawling over Jesus on a crucifix.

The Smithsonian caved in — but Brooklyn Museum officials are restoring the show’s original integrity.

Model Tom Murphy takes his clothes off in a Minor White photograph taken in 1948, part of the “Hide/Seek” exhibition, which opens at the Brooklyn Museum on Nov. 18.
Photo provided by the Brooklyn Museum

Beyond that, artgoers will see more than 100 paintings, photographs, prints, videos, and installations which explore the role that sexual identity of artists and their subjects play in the making of modern and contemporary art.

The result is an array of engrossing works from groundbreaking artists from the late 19th century to the present, including Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Keith Haring and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Marsden Hartley poses for photographer George Platt Lynes in 1948 — a portrait which will be part of the Brooklyn Museum’s exhaustive “Hide/Seek” exhibition opening Nov. 18.
Photo provided by the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum has focused on portraiture before, most recently its photographic series on influential black and Latino leaders in the arts, but the range of works in this collection is perhaps the institution’s most ambitious exhibit of the year.

Don’t miss it — and don’t forget to gloat over your DC friends.

A young Susan Sontag poses for photographer Peter Hujar in a new exhibit opening at the Brooklyn Museum on Nov. 18.
Photo provided by The Brooklyn Museum

“Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], opens on Nov. 18. Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday. For info, visit www.brooklymuseum.org.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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