Two activists were detained on Saturday when they attempted to reinstate the video that was pulled from the “Hide/Seek” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Mike Blasenstein stood by the entrance to the exhibit and distributed literature while playing the video on an iPad he had strapped around his neck. Michael Dax Iacovone filmed the experience, which can be viewed above. This is protest in the digital age.
The two men were escorted from the premises after about 10 minutes of broadcasting “A Fire in My Belly” by David Wojnarowicz, which was removed from the exhibit last week after protest from conservative groups. Though the exhibit has proven incendiary for its focus on LGBT issues, the video drew particular ire for showing a brief clip of ants crawling over an image of Jesus Christ.
According to TBD, Iacovone and Blasenstein have been banned from all Smithsonian institutions, the former for one year and the latter indefinitely. As TBD points out however, the sheer logistics of enforcing such a ban throughout the Smithsonian will be difficult.