A Fire in My Belly

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About

A Fire In My Belly may refer to any one of a number of film projects, originally created by David Wojnarowicz but never presented publicly in a finished form by the artist himself.

All versions of A Fire In My Belly are made up of some combination of original footage filmed by Wojnarowicz on three separate occasions: during a 1986 trip to Mexico with Tommy Turner; in New York City with Tom Rauffenbart and Jesse Hultberg (in 1986-87, before and after the Mexico trip), and at a cockfight in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1987.

History

Letter to Barry Blinderman

In a letter written on October 22, 1988, to Barry Blinderman, the curator of Tongues of Flame (Wojnarowicz’s final solo exhibition, which was presented by the Illinois State University Art Galleries in 1990), Wojnarowicz wrote “There are four films I’m working on. The completed film from Mexico is called: A FIRE IN MY BELLY.”

Wojnarowicz went on to describe the film, saying:

It contains documentary footage shot in border towns and in Mexico City. After completing shooting in Mexico I returned to New York City and shot footage in the studio which I spliced into scenes from Mexico. The film deals with ancient myth and it’s [sic] modern counterpart. It explores structures of power and control--using at times the fire ants north of mexico city [sic] as a metaphor for social structure. What I explored in the film is the workings within surface image; so I split open continuous images and placed studio shots or other related images within the splice – the film uses spliced in-images almost as subliminal messages but each is used at least long enough to register on the brain; sometimes longer. I explore spectacle in the form of the wrestling matches that occur in small arenas in the poor neighborhoods where myth is an accepted part of the sport; the guys with fantastic masks are considered the "good guys" whearas those without masks are personifications of evil. These images are interspersed with cockfights and t/v/ [sic] bullfights. There are sections pertaining to power and control; images of street beggars and little children blowing ten foot long flames among cars at an intersection. Images of armored trucks picking up bank receipts. Images of loaves of bread being sewn up as well as a human mouth--control and silencing through economics. There are invasive aspects of christianity [sic] played against images of day of the dead and the earthquake buildings and mummies of northern mexico [sic]. There are symbols of rage and the need for release.

In the timeline he created for the catalog that accompanied the exhibition, however, Wojnarowicz listed A Fire In My Belly under “Films/Videos/Recordings” from 1987, and described it thusly:

A Fire in My Belly, filmed in Mexico City and various border towns as well as NYC, black and white and color super-8 (went through 2 versions then disassembled for other projects), 30 minutes [1]

James Romberger's Account

James Romberger, Wojnarowicz’s friend and sometimes collaborator, wrote that Wojnarowicz had shown him one of those completed versions, sometime in 1987. On his website, Romberger wrote:

I am one of the few who saw David’s original film. He showed it to me privately at his apartment (formerly Hujar’s residence, over the movie theater on 2nd Avenue) in 1987 when we began collaboration on our graphic novel Seven Miles a Second. He had me sit in front of his big TV, next to his baby elephant’s skeleton and insisted that I watch his Mexican film. What followed was an assault on my senses, a view of a world completely out of control. The strobed, often violent scenes of wrestlers, cock and bull fights, lurid icons, impoverished dwellings, clanking engines, an enslaved monkey, cripples begging for coins, for bread, a burning, spinning globe—it was a picture of indifference to the value of life, Mexico as a grinding machine of poverty and cruel spectacle. I didn’t enjoy the experience. The images and soundtrack combined to create a powerful feeling of unease and angst. I was obviously shaken as it ended, but David just laughed. We moved on to discuss our intention for the comic book, still the afteraffects were hard to shake. He told me later that he had disassembled that first version.[2]

At the Fales Library

The Fales Library and Special Collections acquired the David Wojnarowicz Papers in 1997, five years after Wojnarowicz’s death, and eleven years after the initial filming for A Fire In My Belly. Included in that acquisition was a post-production shooting script titled A Fire In My Belly, which outlined eight different sections to the film, along with potential themes and specific shots for each section. No extant version of A Fire In My Belly conforms exactly to this script. The script itself is a work in progress, with some elements crossed out and some handwritten notes suggesting that Wojnarowicz was considering combining some of the sections together.

The 1997 acquisition also included an aluminum canister labeled "A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress,” which contained a Super 8mm reel of the unfinished film. This reel displays title cards at the beginning (“A Fire in My Belly”) and end (“Film in Progress David Wojnarowicz 1986-7”), echoing the text on the outside of the film canister. This unfinished workprint includes footage from Mexico and New York, but does not include everything listed on the shooting script, nor some of the footage that James Romberger attests to have seen in a “completed” version of A Fire In My Belly. This version is silent.

In 2000, the Fales Library and Special Collections acquired a second Super 8mm reel of film, in an aluminum canister labeled "Mexico, etc... Peter, etc…For Michael Lupetin.” This footage echoes the shooting script from the original acquisition, and includes shots taken in Mexico of amputees, industrial machinery, ants on coins, beggars, mummified corpses, zoo animals, policeman, Mayan ruins, and ants crawling on a crucifix, all spliced with footage taken in New York, including images of sewn bread, Jesus blinking, coins being poured into a blood-filled bowl, Jesse Hultberg underdressing and masturbating, flowers on water, an illustration of Jesus lit up by fireworks, and a burning globe. A majority of the frames do not appear on "A Work in Progress," although some are closely related. This reel contains no title cards.

In Silence=Death

The “Michael Lupetin” mentioned on the canister acquired by Fales in 2000 was a producer on German director Rosa von Praunheim’s 1990 experimental documentary Silence=Death, which examined AIDS through the experiences of several gay male artists, including Wojnarowicz, Allen Ginsberg, and Keith Haring.

According to Marion Scemama, Wojnarowicz’s collaborator for Silence=Death:

[I]n April 1989, David called me in Paris and asked me to come to New York with a video camera. Rosa von Praunheim was in New York to make a documentary about AIDS-artists with AIDS-so he chose different artists, writers, painters, and David was one of them…. I accompanied David each time he would work with Rosa and help prepare the scenes. David was free to do what he wanted, but he wasn’t really sure of what he wanted to do. The idea was to imagine the structure of life, death, sexuality, through the eyes of someone who was a social outcast: a homosexual who has AIDS.[3]

In the end, Wojnarowicz included footage from “Mexico, etc…”, a new dream sequence shot with Scemama and artist Paul Smith, and a recording of him reading his own work, along with audio of him being interviewed by von Praunheim. The shots from “Mexico, etc…” are included under a soundtrack of Wojnarowicz reading and being interviewed, which then transitions into Diamanda Gallas’s song “This is The Law of the Plague.” Although these shots are in roughly the same order as they appear on the original Super 8mm reel labeled “Mexico, etc...” in the Fales Library, they have been edited down and intercut with other footage.

In 2007 Semiotext(e) uploaded the Silence=Death clip to YouTube, including Diamanda Galas's music, with a fabricated title card that read “Fire in my belly Musique: Diamanda Galas,” over a zoomed-in image of Wojnarowicz’s “Street Kid” collage. This title card was made under the supervision of Marion Scemama, who created it for screenings in Paris celebrating the release of the French language edition of Close to the Knives. This edit was created after Wojnarowicz's death.

In Hide / Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery

In 2010, curator Jonathan David Katz and artist Bart Everly created a new version of A Fire In My Belly for Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, an exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum’s National Portrait Gallery. This re-edited version was authorized by the Wojnarowicz estate, and used Wojnarowicz’s segment in Silence=Death as a guide. It includes at least one frame from every individual shot on Mexico, etc..., although not in the same order or for the same duration as in the original. Instead of Diamanda Gallas, this version used audio from a 1989 ACT UP demonstration, attended by Wojnarowicz and found among his papers in the Fales Library, as its soundtrack. The inclusion of this version (in particular, an eleven second sequence of fire ants crawling on a crucifix), ignited a major controversy over the exhibition as a whole. When A Fire In My Belly was removed from the exhibition by then-Secretary of the Smithsonian, Wayne Clough, other museums and institutions around the world began to show this as the definitive version of A Fire In My Belly, unaware of its complicated history.

Configurations

There are several configurations of what came to be titled and exhibited as A Fire In My Belly at galleries and museums internationally, most of which were not edited or titled by Wojnarowicz himself.

A Fire in My Belly A Work In Progress Super 8mm 1986-1987, 00:13:00m

Title written by David Wojnarowicz on original aluminum canister housing.

This is the only reel that opens with the title card "A Fire in My Belly" and ends with the title card "Film in Progress David Wojnarowicz 1986-7" and a thank you card.

In this version, Wojnarowicz interlayed scenes of poverty on the streets of Mexico, Mexican newspaper headlines, Mayan ruins, Mexican wrestling (focusing heavily on Lucha Libre masked fighters), bull fighting (filmed off of the television,) cock fighting (filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico,) and a local Mexican circus. Wojnarowicz also spliced in footage he took in New York of Mexican tarot cards, prints of trains, a Frankenstein mask, spinning eyeballs, a burning map of Mexico, bloodied and bandaged hands, water poured over hands, and falling coins. This version is silent.


Mexico, etc... Peter, etc…For Michael Lupetin Super 8mm 1986-1987, 00:07:00m excerpt

Title written by David Wojnarowicz on original aluminum canister housing.

Wojnarowicz created this reel from footage filmed in Mexico, New York studio footage, and footage of Peter Hujar on his deathbed. The Mexico and New York footage is likely from a dismantled, in progress, version of A Fire in My Belly.

The Mexico footage, which echoes the post-production shooting script labeled A Fire in My Belly, includes amputees, industrial machinery, ants on coins, beggars, mummified corpses, zoo animals, policeman, different Mayan ruins, ants crawling on a crucifix, spliced with footage taken in New York, such as images of sewn bread, Jesus blinking, coins being poured in a blood-filled bowl, Jesse Hultberg underdressing and masturbating, flowers on water, and an illustration of Jesus lit up by fireworks, and a burning globe. A majority of the frames relate to, but do not appear on, A Work in Progress. This version is silent.


Rosa von Praunheim’s Silence=Death 00:04:10m excerpt, beginning at 00:49:21m, 1989-1990

This edit, done by Wojnarowicz with help from his frequent collaborator Marion Scemama, includes scenes from Mexico, etc... presented in their original order, but edited down and intercut with other footage. The first three minutes of the segment are accompanied by audio from an interview between Wojnarowicz and von Praunheim, before Diamanda Galas’s This is the Law of the Plague comes on (beginning at 00:52:18), over footage of ants crawling on a crucifix, filmed in Mexico.


A Fire in My Belly: Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery edit, 2010 00:04:15m Video

This version was created by Bart Everly, with direction from Jonathan David Katz and permission from the Wojnarowicz estate, for the Hide/Seek exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2010. It is viewable on Bart Everly’s website. The title card incorrectly states that it is “30 Minutes,” but it is actually 4:15m.

This version was created from footage on the reel labeled Mexico...etc... In an interview, Katz explained that he created this piece because he wanted to show some of Wojnarowicz’s film work, but none of his pieces were under the four-minute time limit imposed by the National Portrait Gallery. As A Fire In My Belly was never a finished work, and Wojnarowicz had previously allowed Rosa von Praunheim to edit the footage, Katz felt comfortable re-editing that material. His specific goal was to make an edit that was explicitly about HIV/AIDS.[4]

This version uses a recording of a 1989 ACT UP demonstration, attended by Wojnarowicz, as its soundtrack. The use of this soundtrack was approved by the Wojnarowicz Estate and given to the Smithsonian by Fales Library and Special Collections.

According to PPOW Gallery (which represents the Wojnarowicz estate), the following institutions have purchased this version:

  • Pulitzer Art Foundation
  • The Whitney Museum of Art
  • The Addison Gallery of American Art
  • Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
  • Colección MUAC

Youtube versions:

Michael Lupetin (2015) and Semiotext(e) (2007)

Uploads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhpG7Gtqrrc

These versions are both identical to the edit in Silence=Death from the point at which Diamanda Galas's This is the Law of the Plague begins playing. The first four seconds is silent, with a title card depicting a blown-up photograph of Wojnarowicz's Street Kid collage, overlaid with the words: "Fire in my belly Musique: Diamanda Galas" The creator of the title card was Marion Scemama, for Semiotext(e), in honor of the publication of the French version of Wojnarowicz’s book Close to the Knives.

No Censorship in America Upload (2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHRCwQeKCuo

A DVD of this version was given to PPOW Gallery by Fales Library and Special Collections. It contains the entirety of Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress and the entirety of Mexico, etc…, with a brief blank screen in between. It was uploaded to YouTube by the organization No Censorship in America.

Mexico Film Footage and Mexico Film Footage II

Titles created during processing at Fales Library and Special Collections

Soundtracks

No Soundtrack (silent)

Wojnarowicz's two original Super 8mm reels (A Work in Progress and Mexico, etc…) had no audio.


1989 Act-Up Demonstration, Audio-cassette 00:04:00m excerpt

This audio was used in the version of A Fire In My Belly created by Bart Everly and Jonathan David Katz for the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum. The audio includes Wojnarowicz's voice among fellow protesters. The use of this soundtrack was approved by the Wojnarowicz estate and given to the Smithsonian by Fales Library and Special Collections.


Diamanda Galas’ This is the Law of the Plague

This audio was included in the 00:04:10m edit in Rosa von Praunheim’s 1990 documentary Silence=Death, in the widely viewed Semiotext(e) YouTube video, uploaded in 2007, and in the 2015 YouTube video uploaded by Michael Lupetin (which is itself identical to the Semiotext(e) YouTube version).


Mexico Soundtrack 1/4" (F-2) Maxell XLII 90 audiocassette, 00:30:17

It cannot be said definitively whether this soundtrack was meant to be the official soundtrack for A Fire in My Belly. Wojnarowicz created this tape with Doug Bressler, and it includes Bressler's guitar combined with the street sounds of Mexico, as well as Wojnarowicz whispering the words “Go inside your own head, and you can do all these things – easy as drawing blood out through a needle.” Cynthia Carr, in her biography of Wojnarowicz, said that the soundtrack was never synced with the workprint,[5] although this contradicts Romberger, who claimed to have watched a workprint of the film that included a soundtrack.[6]

Media & Techniques

Wojnarowicz used a Super 8mm camera and Kodak Super 8mm triacetate film, both color and black and white, for all footage, including both A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress and Mexico...etc...Peter..etc

It is likely that Wojnarowicz bought his Super 8mm film from Rafik's OP Screening Room, evidenced by phone logs, included in the David Wojnarowicz Papers at Fales Library and Special Collections.

In 1986-87, Wojnarowicz experimented with Super 8mm film in New York. His partner, Tom Rauffenbart, sometimes assisted with filming. Wojnarowicz took footage of Rauffenbart placing flowers on water, which would appear in Mexico...etc... Wojnarowicz also had Rauffenbart pose his hands, wrapped in bandages, with coins and containers of blood. Rauffenbart would also be filmed with his lips artificially sewn shut. The blood was created with red food coloring and the string was glued to red yarn, and then placed carefully over Rauffenbart's lips.

Wojnarowicz filmed in Mexico from October 29th-November 18th, 1986. He brought props with him to Teotihuacan, a site of ancient Aztec ruins, including watch faces, a toy gun, a toy soldier, a small Day of the Dead skull, candles, a sign, and a plastic crucifix. Wojnarowicz had heard that the Aztec site was riddled with fire ants and intended to film and photograph them crawling among his props.[5]

Locations

Mexico

Wojnarowicz entered Nuevo Laredo, Mexico with Tommy Turner on October 29th, 1986, equipped with two Super 8 cameras and two 35mm cameras. They took a train to Mexico City the same day. Turner, who was wrestling with a heroin addiction, used a deck of tarot cards, which appear in Wojnarowicz's Mexico footage, to help him find a spiritual path towards sobriety. On October 31st, Turner and Wojnarowicz traveled by bus to Guanajuato, where they both shot footage at a mummy museum, including some shots that would end up in Mexco...etc...Peter...etc.

Wojnarowicz and Turner returned to Mexico City for the Day of the Dead Parade, held on November 2nd, 1986. Although they shot footage during the parade, these were not featured in A Fire in My Belly configurations and were not included in Wojnarowicz's journals. After the parade, they took a bus through the Coyoacan section of Mexico City, filming the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, prominently featured in Wojnarowicz's Mexico, etc… footage. They intended to go to a local cemetery but were sidetracked by advertisements for a circus. Wojnarowicz filmed the event, seen in A Work in Progress.

Turner and Wojnarowicz attended a Lucha Libre wrestling match, hiring a cab driver as an interpreter to narrate the show. These filmed moments appear in A Work in Progress but only due to luck. Wojnarowicz and Turner almost had their cameras confiscated by security guards for not having a permit. They were able to keep their film with a small bribe of 1000 pesos. They were approached by guards again before they would stop recording the event.

Wojnarowicz and Turner planned to go to Teotihuacan together on November 3rd, 1986, where there were ancient Aztec ruins. Filming fire ants was a priority for Wojnarowicz. Footage from Teotihuacan can be seen in both A Work in Progress and Mexico...etc...Peter...etc.

After Turner and Wojnarowicz parted ways on November 5th, 1986, Wojnarowicz went back to Mexico City alone until November 18th, where he continued to film.[5]


The footage listed below was filmed in Mexico, as determined by reading Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, and by multiple viewings of Wojnarowicz's films.

A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress

  • Streets of Mexico City
  • Mexican Newspapers
  • Livestock in the streets
  • Mexican man on street with Lucha Libre action figures
  • Lucha Libre magazines
  • Lucha Libre Match
  • Bull Fight on Mexican television
  • Young male firebreather on streets of Mexico City
  • Circus
  • Mayan ruins
  • Walking through Mexico City streets with demon mask

Mexico...etc...Peter...etc...

  • Industrial Machinery
  • Legless Amputees
  • Begging woman
  • Mexican police officers
  • Lucha Libre Match
  • Mayan/Aztec ruins
  • Ants crawling on coins
  • Mexican Zoo
  • Mummy Museum
  • Painted Day of the Dead figures
  • Driving through Mexico City streets
  • Firebreather
  • Ants crawling on plastic crucifix
  • Laying water on graves
  • Day of the Dead and red candles with rotting fruit, money, and ants
  • Man on telephone wire, hitting concrete with sledgehammer

New York

Some frames from both A Work in Progress and Mexico... etc... Peter... etc were shot in a studio or on the streets of New York before and after Wojnarowicz's trip to Mexico with Tommy Turner.


The footage listed below was filmed in New York, as determined by reading Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, and by multiple viewings of Wojnarowicz's films.

A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress

  • Title Cards
  • Map of Mexico
  • Tarot Cards
  • Train prints
  • Spinning Eyeball prop
  • Mexican Bandito Marinette
  • Hand, bandaged and unbandaged, with coins
  • Zombie and Vampire Halloween mask
  • Wojnarowicz with a white mask over his face and hands behind back at an industrial site

Mexico...etc...Peter...etc

  • Legs walking in red light
  • Sewn bread
  • Sewn mouth
  • Hands with coins
  • Holographic card of Jesus
  • Bowl of blood
  • Illustration of woman in chains and fire
  • Statue crying blood with eyeballs in tray
  • Frankenstein Halloween mask
  • Jesse Hultberg masturbating
  • Flowers floating on water
  • Burning Jesus from Fireworks
  • Meat on Hooks
  • Spinning globe on fire

Puerto Rico

The cockfighting sequence in A Work in Progress was filmed in Puerto Rico after Wojnarowicz's trip to Mexico with Tommy Turner.


The footage listed below was filmed in Puerto Rico, as determined by reading Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, and by multiple viewings of Wojnarowicz's films.


A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress

  • Cockfighting

People

Doug Bressler
Bressler helped Wojnarowicz record the Mexico Soundtrack. He is heard playing various instruments, including the electric guitar.


Cynthia Carr
Carr knew and wrote about Wojnarowicz during his life, and is also the author of his biography, Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz.


Bart Everly
Everly created the four-minute A Fire In My Belly edit, under the supervision of Jonathan Katz, exhibited as A Fire in My Belly for the National Portrait Gallery's Hide/See: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition.


Diamanda Galas
Galas's This is the Law of the Plague was used in Wojnarowicz’s segment in Silence=Death, as well as in the Semiotext(e) edit of Wojnarowicz's Mexico footage.


Jesse Hultberg
Hultberg is credited at the end of A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress.


Jonathan David Katz Katz curated the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which included a four-minute posthumous video edit of Wojnarowicz's Mexico footage.


Richard Kern
Kern is credited at the end of A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress for providing fireworks to set a papier-mâché Jesus ablaze.


Lupetin, Michael
Lupetin was the producer for Silence=Death. His name appears on the canister for Mexico...etc...Peter...etc.


Brent Phillips
Phillips was the Media Archivist for the Fales Library and Special Collections, and has spoken out about the misconceptions surrounding A Fire in My Belly. He appeared on a panel discussion about Wojnarowicz's audio, specifically sharing his knowledge on the Mexico Soundtrack.


Tom Rauffenbart
The former partner of Wojnarowicz, Rauffenbart runs the artist's estate and approved the Smithsonian A Fire in My Belly edit.


Marion Scemama
A French artist, Scemema was a friend and frequent collaborator with Wojnarowicz. Wojnarowicz invited her to help him create his segment in Rosa von Praunheim’s documentary Silence=Death.


Marvin Taylor
Taylor is the Director of Fales Library and Special Collections and has published and spoken numerous times on the misconceptions surrounding A Fire in My Belly


Tommy Turner
Turner is credited at the end of A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress.


Rosa von Praunheim
von Praunheim directed Silence=Death, where footage from Mexico...etc...Peter...etc was used.


David Ward

Ward co-curated Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery.

Conservation History

Film

Contents, including A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress, Mexico, etc... Peter, etc…, Mexico Footage one, and Mexico Footage two, were acquired by Fales Library and Special Collections in 1997 and 2000. Each reel was found within individual aluminum canisters, with these titles, believed to be written by David Wojnarowicz. Filmstock associated with A Fire in My Belly entered Fales as Super 8mm film. The original film stock has been rehoused in polypropylene containers and the canisters have been stored separately. 16mm transfers were created for all Super 8mm films. Fales Library and Special Collections holds 16mm color internegatives, optical sound negatives (In this case, all subsequent Super 8mm films are silent,) composite answer print, and a composite release print. A telecine transfer was then conducted to Digital Betacam or 2K 10-bit uncompressed, HD ProRestHQ Quicktime sound video and DVD, acting as the master file.

Audio

The Mexico Soundtrack initially entered Fales as an (F-2) Maxell XLII 90 audio-cassette. Fales’s digitally transferred master copy, for preservation, is a 24-bit Broadcast WAV at 96kHz. For production, audio has also been stored as a 16-bit 44.1 kHz WAV file.

Accessibility

Fales has generated a number of access copies in multiple formats, dependent on the circumstances of the request.[7]

Curatorial Information

Exhibition History

This is an incomplete exhibition history. No version of A Fire in My Belly was publicly displayed in Wojnarowicz's lifetime.

BFI Southbank

16th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, April 2002 A Fire in My Belly, Work in Progress, silent on 16mm screened Unknown version screened

The Tranzac Club

The Collaborative Film and Video Work of David Wojnarowicz, June 21, 2002 A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress, silent on 16mm screened

National Portrait Gallery

'Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, October 30th 2010 to February 13th 2011 Screened four-minute edit by Bart Everly, specifically for the National Portrait Gallery leg of the traveling exhibition. This edit consisted of a composite of frames from both ;;A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress;; and ;;Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. (Taken down from view on November 30th, 2010.)

Transformer Gallery

December 1st, 2010 Screened Smithsonian 4 minute edit in storefront window

December 3rd 2010-Feburary 4th 2011 Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to gallery by P·P·O·W

New Museum
December 6th 2010-January 23rd 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to museum on DVD by P·P·O·W

Portland Institute of Contemporary Arts
December 8th 2010-February 13th 2011
Screened A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress and the four-minute Smithsonian edit, both taken from P·P·O·W's former Vimeo page

Hammer Museum
December 9th-December 17th 2010
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc., Given to institution by P·P·O·W

CB1 Gallery
December 9th-December 12th 2010
Screened A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress

Southern Exposure
December 11th 2010-January 7th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. From former Vimeo page of P·P·O·W

WorkSpace
December 12th, 2010
Screened Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress off 00:21:06m DVD provided by P·P·O·W

SPACES Gallery
December 14th-December 20th 2010
Screened A Fire in My Belly A Work in Progress and the four-minute Smithsonian edit, both taken from P·P·O·W's former Vimeo page

Andy Warhol Museum
December 14th 2010-Feburary 13th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to Museum by P·P·O·W

Mattress Factory
December 14th 2010-February 13th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

Wood Street Galleries
December 14th 2010-January 30th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to gallery by P·P·O·W

Smith College Museum of Art
December 14th-December 31st 2010 and April 5th, 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W Displayed with print of (Untitled) One Day This Kid...

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
December 15th, 2010
Version screened unknown

The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
December 15th 2010-?
Screened 00:04:10m Semiotexte Youtube video, containing footage from Silence=Death

Walker Institute of Art
December 16th-December 31st 2010
Screened four-minute Smithsonian edit, 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to museum on DVD by P·P·O·W

International Center of Photography
December 16th, 2010
Screened four-minute Smithsonian edit, 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Video from former P·P·O·W Vimeo page

Museum of Contemporary Craft: The Lab
December 17th, 2010
Art and Censorship: Portland Responds to Wojnarowicz Controversy Screened four-minute Smithsonian edit, taken from P·P·O·W's former Vimeo page

Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Screened for an "indefinite period" in December 2010
Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship, February 13th-May 3rd 2015 Version screened unknown

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
January 3rd, 2011
Version screened unknown

1708 Gallery
January 7–February 12 2011
Hosted four-minute Smithsonian edit on their website and screened video in gallery space

Smart Museum of Art
January 4th-February 6th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

ArtRage
December 14th, 2011
January 12th-February 13th 2011
Screened four-minute Smithsonian edit, taken from P·P·O·W's former Vimeo page

Stanford University
Art Censorship Issues: Fire In My Belly, January 12th 2011
Version screened unknown

Museum of Modern Art
January 13th-May 9th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to museum on DVD by P·P·O·W

San Francisco Art Institute
January 15th-Feburary 25th 2011
Unknown version screened

Ackland Art Museum
January 19th 2011-Feburary 13th 2011
Screened 20min edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc, and the four-minute Smithsonian edit. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Home Bodies: Selections from the Permanent Collection, January 19th 2011-?
Screened four-minute Smithsonian edit, 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Video from former P·P·O·W Vimeo page

Tate Modern
January 22nd, 2011
Versions screened unknown

PPOW Gallery
David Wojnarowicz Spirituality, March 3rd-April 9th 2011
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Created by Fales Library and Special Collections

Center for Book Arts
May 23rd 2011
Screened version unknown

Brooklyn Museum
Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, November 18th 2011-Februrary 12th 2012
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

Tacoma Art Museum
March 17th-June 10th 2012
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

Electronic Arts Intermix
Thursday, December 13, 2012
David Wojnarowicz: Motion Rhythms
Screened A Fire in My Belly, A Work in Progress with "sound component" from the Mexico Soundtrack

Whitney Museum
Normal Love, May 4th-September 6th 2015
Screened 00:21:06m edit created by Fales Library and Special Collections, including A Work in Progress and seven-minute excerpt of Mexico...etc...Peter...etc. Given to institution by P·P·O·W

Archival Preparatory Work from the Wojnarowicz Papers at Fales Library

Image Stills from A Fire In My Belly

Resources

Many articles were written about A Fire in My Belly in the wake of the National Portrait Gallery controversy. The A Fire in My Belly pages on this wiki stand as the most up-to-date information. When reading previous articles or books, please keep any discrepancies in mind.

Books

See Bibliography--Books on Wojnarowicz

Articles

See Bibliography--Articles

Pages on Knowledge Base that link to this page

  1. Blinderman, Barry, David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame, exhibition catalogue, 23 Jan-4 March 1990, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
  2. Romberger, James (2014, August 28) Wojnarowicz’s Apostasy. Retrieved from http://jamesromberger.com/Wojnarowiczs-Apostasy/
  3. Lotringer, Sylvère. A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side. New York: Semiotext(e), 2006
  4. Ryan, Hugh. (2016, May 17). About Face: How Eleven Seconds of Film Endangered the Smithsonian. Retrieved from http://www.criticalread.org/about-face
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Carr, Cynthia. Fire In the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz. New York: Bloomsbury. 2012
  6. Romberger, James. 2016. http://jamesromberger.com/Wojnarowiczs-Apostasy/
  7. Phillips, Brent. Personal Communication. Media Archivist for Fales Archive and Special Collections. June 21st, 2016