January 9, 2012

As the Brooklyn Museum FREE Teen Night Event for LGBTQ Teens and Allies draws closer (this Thursday, January 12!) we’ve been fielding a lot of questions about the exhibition, HIDE/SEEK, the catalyst for the Teen Night Event. Here’s some information about the groundbreaking show to get you hyped up about attending the Teen Night Event! Hope to see you all this Thursday in the Beaux Arts Court in the Brooklyn Museum!

What is HIDE/SEEK all about?
HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire American Portraiture is the first major museum exhibition to focus on themes of gender and sexuality in modern American portraiture. The exhibition brings together more than one hundred works in a wide range of media, including paintings, photographs, works on paper, film, and installation art. Featuring work by artists such as George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol, HIDE/SEEK charts the under documented role that sexual identity has played in the making of modern art, and highlights the contributions of gay and lesbian artists to American art. (Brooklyn Museum)

What is the controversy surrounding HIDE/SEEK?
HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture opened on October 30th, 2010 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. as the first major American exhibition to highlight sexual difference in American portraiture. Although originally greeted with praise, one month after opening day the show came under attack. The Catholic League, a right-wing political group, Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, and now Speaker of the House John Boehner launched a targeted attack on a video work by David Wojnarowicz entitled “A Fire in My Belly” — a piece that included 13 seconds of ants crawling on a crucifix. House Speaker Boehner and Representative Cantor threatened the Smithsonian Institution with cuts to their budget for displaying a work they deemed blasphemous and on November 30th, 2010, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough removed the video from the gallery.

In response to this act of censorship, hundreds of museums, galleries, and cultural institutions around the world organized protests, discussions, lectures, and screened Wojnarowicz’s film at events, in window displays, and in galleries.

In a grand statement of support, the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington stepped up to host the exhibition in its entirety. The exhibition opened November 18th in Brooklyn and will open in March of 2012 in Tacoma, HIDE/SEEK will continue to create waves and conversation and hideseek.org will continue to document this pivotal moment in American history. (hideseek.org)

For more information check out hideseek.org, a website founded to provide a central, comprehensive source for information about the responses to and eventual censorship of the HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.

*Featured Image: Cass Bird, 2004