Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

hide/SPEAK: An evening with David C. Ward of the National Portrait Gallery
Washington DC Jewish Community Center

The Washington DC Jewish Community Center in collaboration with writer & activist Catherine V. Dawson and Transformer presents:

hide/SPEAK: An evening with David C. Ward, Historian, National Portrait Gallery; Curator, Hide/Seek: Difference in Desire in American Portraiture

In conversation with:
Tyler Green, Editor and Writer, Modern Art Notes; U.S. Columnist, Modern Painters
Victoria Reis, co-Founder, Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer
Dafna Steinberg, artist; Director, Ann Loeb Bronfmann Gallery, Washington DCJCC

Facilitated by Catherine Dawson & Joshua Ford

On October 29, 2010, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first major museum exhibition to explore themes of gender and sexuality in American art, opened at the National Portrait Gallery. On December 1st, artist David Wojanrowicz's 1987 video work A Fire in my Belly - which was intended to articulate, among other things, the silencing and suffering of people with AIDS - was pulled from the exhibition by the director of the Smithsonian Institution. after Congressional leaders threatened them with funding cuts/ These congressional leaders were backed by Catholic groups who had taken offense to 11 seconds of the video which showed ants crawling on a crucifix.

hide/SPEAK, which is presented as part of DCJCC’s Rapid Response series and Transformer's "Framework" talk series, is a conversation with Hide/Seek co-curator David C. Ward, to discuss the events that lead up to the Smithsonian’s removal of the video from the exhibition, the events that have unfolded since the video was pulled, the social and political implications of the situation, and how we as a community – in all definitions and configurations of “community” – view this particular moment.

In protest of the Smithsonian’s decision, numerous art galleries and institutions have been screening the banned video. Additional responses in the form of screenings, displays of Wojanrowicz’s other works, art actions, and conversations have now developed across the country, touching on all of the many issues that have arisen as part of this censorship – or, as some are calling it, a return to the “culture wars.”

This program is presented as a Rapid Responsa, a program of the 16th Street J’s Department of Dialogues and Public Affairs. Rapid Responsa seeks to periodically provide a forum, as public events warrant, to shape a quick, civil discussion on ideas that have immediate cultural relevance and about which average citizens ought to be able to speak with one another. Responsa have a long history in Judaism, and concern themselves not only with religious matters, but increasingly with contemporary issues. What we are embracing with this title is not the stamp of authority that a responsa from a learned rabbi brings with it; rather we are embracing the dialectical approach which characterizes a great many of them. In these cases there is a willingness to discuss thesis and antithesis, a participatory Socratic method and, while we expect we will raise more questions than we answer, our hope is that something can be learned. Rapid Responsa is part of the J’s Department of Dialogues and Public Affairs, which is supported by John R. Risher, Jr. Public Affairs Forum Endowment Fund.

The Washington DC Jewish Community Center (DCJCC) is the Jewish community's address in our Nation's Capital, providing uniquely urban educational, social, cultural and fitness programs to the DC community inside and outside the beltway. Open to all, with the mission of building and preserving Jewish identity, we promote community values through Washington DCJCC programs and services. The Washington DCJCC is a member of the Jewish Community Center Association, a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and a designated agency of the United Way of the National Capital Area (under W for Washington DCJCC) designee #54775.

t ra n s f o rme r is a Washington, DC based 501 (c) 3 artist-centered, non-profit, visual arts organization providing a consistent, supportive, and professional platform for emerging artists to explore and present experimental artistic concepts, build audiences for their work, and advance their careers. A catalyst and advocate for emerging contemporary artists and emergent expression in the visual arts, Transformer connects and promotes emerging visual artists based locally, nationally, and internationally through exhibitions and programs partnerships with artists, curators, commercial galleries, museums and other cultural institutions.

Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
1529 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

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