One Year After Smithsonian’s Turmoil, Another Round of Controversy Begins as Brooklyn Museum Prepares to Open ‘Hide/Seek’

Has it already been nearly a year since the explosion of controversy surrounding the National Portrait Gallery‘s decision to pull artist David Wojnarowicz‘s video piece, “A Fire in My Belly,” from their exhibition “HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” You’ll likely remember all about it, the whole story of the Smithsonian removing the work, which at one point depicts ants crawling over a religious icon, after numerous groups complained. It was, after all, seemingly the only thing the art world wanted to talk about for months (and was clearly still vying for the “#1 Art Story of 2011” until the even more discussed Ai Weiwei news broke). Well if you were hoping to add an annual tradition to your winter, something that fell before Thanksgiving and the December holidays, it looks like it’s being established again in Wojnarowicz-Gate, Part Two. The Brooklyn Museum is preparing to run the exhibition beginning next Friday, and already groups are lined up to complain about the piece. The NY Daily News reports that religious groups, in particular the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, are now asking that the piece be once again removed from a museum. However, we have a feeling that, despite being occasionally gun shy around controversy (like with the cancellation of “Art in the Streets”), the Brooklyn Museum knew exactly what it was getting into and both it, as well as the press (and likely heavily weighted toward the latter), aren’t minding the extra attention at all.