Artist: David Wojnarowicz|
Confronting Bodies: Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association
Date of Action: 1990
Specific Location: Normal, IL
Description of Artwork: An exhibition of work by Wojnarowicz at Illinois State University dealing with AIDS issues, entitled "Tongues of Flame," attacked prominent religious and political figures as indifferent to suffering from the disease.
Description of Incident: Lawyer David Fordyce alleged in a lawsuit against the National Endowment for the Arts and Chairman John E. Frohnmayer that a $15,000 grant for an exhibition in Illinois displayed "open and notorious hostility toward religion." Fordyce represented the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit legal services group, in the U.S. District Court action in Washington, D.C. It cited the NEA's grant last year for "Tongues of Flame," a display of works by David Wojnarowicz. Wojnarowicz filed suit in Manhattan Federal District Court charging Wildmon with illegal use of copyrighted images. The suit also charged libel in its Wildmon's intent to strip the work and the artist of artistic and political significance.
Results of Incident: The NEA pulled funding for the ISU exhibition catalogue. David Wojnarowicz died in 1993.
Source: Committee For Artists' Rights Archive
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