Remember how the “Hide/Seek” show went off the rails at the Smithsonian nearly a year ago? So far, it’s smooth sailing at the Brooklyn Museum, where the infamous Virgin Mary-elephant dung piece created a firestorm in 1999.
“This time around, the reception to the show has been more subdued, and so far no major politician has thought to make a stink,” says Paddy Johnson. “About three dozen people from a Catholic group based in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania showed up to protest the exhibition on the weekend, though, and Nicholas A. DiMarzio, the Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, has called for the museum to pull ‘A Fire in My Belly.’ ”
If you remember, “Fire” was the video that the Smithsonian very quickly agreed to pull after the Catholic League said the video insulted Christians. So pretty much everyone on both sides of the political spectrum came away upset.
“Hide/Seek” is the first major museum exhibition to focus homosexuality, and although it’s been criticized for bypassing queer artists from the past decade, and leaning on big-name art stars, the show has been generally well-received. By art critics, that is. And it’s probably found safe harbor in Brooklyn, where the Catholic League’s objections don’t go as far, and ants crawling on a crucifix doesn’t shock. The exhibit is almost entirely intact. Some pieces were on loan and were returned, but the “Fire” ants are back in the show and also reside on Vimeo.
This show wasn’t originally intended to hit the road, but it will continue to travel after Brooklyn. In March, the show moves to Tacoma, Wash. In the meantime, there’s plenty of time for the opposition to throw around some metaphorical elephant dung of their own.