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Watch: Activist Banned for Life from Smithsonian for iPad Protest of Censored Gay David Wojnarowicz Art Piece

A clever, if short-lived, form of protest against censorship.

A demonstrator against the Smithsonian's shameful censorship of the David Wojnarowicz video art piece "A Fire in My Belly" (I wrote about it here) wears the art piece on an iPad around his neck and distributes flyers to visitors telling them about the museum's caving to the Catholic League.

As punishment for their protest, the activist wearing the iPad and the activist filming it were banned from the museum for life.

Blake Gopnik writes:

Smithsonian spokeperson Linda St. Thomas says that the banning was entirely the business of the DC police. Smithsonian security officers, she says, have no authority to issue such a ban. She believes the protesters' offence was leafletting, which is banned in Smithsonian buildings, and often becomes an issue when political protests on the Mall spill over into its museums: "It doesn't matteir what the cause is, you just can't bother our visitors that way."

St. Thomas admits, however, it's not clear that Blasenstein was guilty even of leafletting: "You're not supposed to hand [leaflets] out, but you can walk in carrying them," she says. (The video shot by Iacovone, and now widely available on the Web, seems to confirm that Blasenstein was entirely passive.

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Replies to This Discussion

Museum says "It's not me, it's just company policy". Why even have Human beings on the power board then?
I do not think it is clever to leaflet in a place where it is forbidden. The inside of a museum is not a place for demonstrations.
You too try reading the article: "A demonstrator... distributes flyers to visitors telling them about the museum's caving to the Catholic League."

The leafletting is unclear. The court will have to judge that. When I watch the video I see he does not walk in carrying them. He plays a human leaflet display. Displays play an active role in selling things or thoughts. Visitors take one because they think they are part of the exhibition. The safety guards are no lawyers or judges. I think they did what they are supposed to do.

I do not like art censorship. I also think a ban for life is disproportional. But that is not the issue.

Wikileaks is another censorship oppression, have your say at http://www.avaaz.org/en/wikileaks_petition/?vl

If the feds win here then its goodbye to artistic licence for freedom of expression.



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