A short film by the late artist David Wojnarowicz at the has caught the attention of local religious groups, who say the piece is offensive and should be removed.
The film, "A Fire in My Belly,” is drawing ire because of a short segment that shows ants crawling across the crucified Jesus. The film is part of an upcoming exhibition at Brooklyn Museum titled HIDE/SEEK, which opens on November 18.
"Certainly we don’t think this would be tolerated if this was the image of the Prophet Muhammed or any other religious symbol,” said Msgr. Kieran Harrington, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, in an interview with the New York Post.
The Brooklyn Paper reports today that despite the controversy, the museum is holding firm in their decision to include the piece.
According to the Paper, Museum Director Arnold Lehman stated on Wednesday that the exhibit will go on as the original curators had planned.
“A Fire in My Belly” was removed from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. last year, after angering politicians and the Catholic League.
And this is not the first time the Brooklyn Museum has stirred up controversy – remember in 1999 when Mayor Giuliani threatened to cut funding to the museum because of Chris Ofili’s painting “The Holy Virgin Mary?” The piece, which featured a depiction of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung, drew a similar firestorm from religious critics.