Yesterday we took an afternoon stroll up Fifth Avenue. There were a bunch of other people. We were expressing our view that the National Portrait Gallery was wrong in removing David Wojnarowicz' video from an exhibition. Someone had complained that the image of a crucifix covered with ants is blasphemous. It is a nightmarish image, kind of hallucinatory, maybe, but how is it blasphemous? Wojnarowicz died of AIDS and his video had to do with the suffering of that disease's victims, as well as the indifference of the government at the time, and the hostility toward gays and lesbians that some established religions still have. To be honest, I don't know what the image "means," or if it means anything. The blasphemy charge had to do with this image being used by a homosexual who was not ashamed of being a homosexual, and who was using this familiar image of divine suffering to show something about the suffering of a disease that was killing many homosexuals.
As protests go, it was pleasant, except for the chanting. I really don't care for the chants used at protests, especially the ones in the form of "HEY, HEY, HO, HO, YADDA YADDA, GOTTA GO." I was quietly repeating my own, "HEY, HEY, MY, MY, ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE," and "GIVE CHANTS SOME PEACE." The idea of the march, if it can be called that, was to walk from the Met up to Cooper Hewitt (which, like the National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian} to make our statement against censorship. As some have said, this isn't the most pressing issue of the day and the protest was "safe." But it was fun, and worth doing, and much more interesting than talking about the sales figures at Miami Basel.