In case anyone's curious, this is the text from the flyer I was holding for people to read. It talked about the art and why I was standing there with an iPad around my neck.
Whenever somebody took one, security guards would swarm them intimidatingly and tell them they were "not allowed" to take it. Everyone who took a flyer gave it back.
I am standing here with this iPad around my neck…
…because politicians and pressure groups don’t want you to see this work of art
…because this work’s detractors have every right to interpret it any way they want
…because so do you
…because I’m tired of people who know better caving in to the hysterics of the misinformed
…because the time our politicians waste vilifying a dead man is time they should be seizing to fix the problems of the living
…because I never believed that the same forces that marginalized this artist twenty years ago would try to silence him today
…because I was wrong
…because by marginalizing the work of the marginalized from an exhibition about marginalization, the censors themselves have provided the ultimate validation of the artist’s work
…because too many gay people—myself included—too often forget that any acceptance we enjoy today was paid for in blood, bruises, and unimaginable suffering by those who came before us
…because suffering is human
…because we are human
…because there are those who will stop at nothing to suppress that
…because I refuse to let them
…because silence still equals death.
[on other side]
A Fire In My Belly, 1987 (excerpt). David Wojnarowicz. Music by
David Wojnarowicz created this video in 1987 as a tribute to his colleague and lover, Peter Hujar, who died of AIDS that same year. The video contains some grisly images: Mummified bodies, bloody icons, lips being sewn shut, and 11 seconds of ants crawling on a crucifix. These images represent Wojnarowicz's feelings of isolation and marginalization as an openly gay man living with AIDS in the 80s — an era in which carriers of the virus were demonized. They are a memento mori, or a reminder of our mortality.
Adapted from http://www.tbd.com/blogs/tbd-arts/2010/12/national-portrait-gallery-
The music heard on the video is an excerpt from The Plague Mass by Diamanda Galás, which she composed in response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. The words for the piece heard here, “This Is the Law of the Plague,” are taken from chapter 15 of the biblical book of Leviticus:
When any man hath an issue out of his flesh,
Because of his issue he is unclean
Every bed whereon he lieth is unclean
And everything whereon he sitteth, unclean.
And whosoever toucheth his bed shall be unclean,
And he that sitteth whereon he sat shall be unclean.
And he that toucheth the flesh of the unclean becomes unclean,
And he that be spat on by him unclean becomes unclean.
And whosoever toucheth anything under him shall be unclean.
And he that beareth any of those things shall be unclean.
And what saddle soever he rideth upon is unclean
And the vessel of earth that he touches, unclean.
And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, he is unclean.
Every garment, every skin whereon is the seed, unclean.
And the woman with whom this man shall lie with will be unclean.
And whosoever toucheth her will be unclean.
This is the law of the plague,
To teach when it is clean and when unclean.
And the priest shall look upon the plague.
For a rising and for a scab and for a bright spot.
And the priest shall shut up he that hath the plague.
He shall carry them forth to a place unclean.
He shall separate them in their uncleanness.
This is the law of the plague:
To teach when it is clean and when it is unclean.
Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamanda_Galás