Brooklyn Museum to display video criticized as anti-Christian
The Brooklyn Museum said a controversial video artwork of ants crawling on a crucifix will be displayed this week despite lawmakers' complaints that it is anti-Christian and may endanger the institute's public funding.
The images appear for roughly 10 seconds in a four-minute-long edit of the film "A Fire in My Belly." It was made in the late 1980s by the American artist David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992 from an AIDS-related illness.
The museum said the artwork is "an expression of the artist's outrage at indifference to human suffering during the early years of the AIDS crisis."
Outrage caused the video to be withdrawn from a November 2010 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian museum in Washington, after Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, described it as anti-Christian "hate speech."
A version of the artwork was subsequently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The Brooklyn Museum, scheduled to exhibit the video starting this Friday, said it would go ahead with its plans despite strong opposition from the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and some lawmakers.
"This is not art, this is Christian-bashing," James Molinaro, the Staten Island Borough President, said in a letter sent on Monday evening to Arnold Lehman, the museum's director.
"This is an outrageous use of taxpayer money by the nation's second-largest art museum and an obvious attempt to offend Christians."
The letter was co-signed by Michael Grimm, a Republican congressman from New York, and five other state and city legislators from New York's Staten Island.
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