Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dec 15th Book Launch, NYU | Toilets: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing

Dear Students:

Please see below for more information about a book launch for Toilet: The Public Restroom and the Politics of Sharing, which was co-edited by Harvey Molotch, Draper's Master Teacher in The City.

Toilet Book Launch Party

Wednesday, 15 December 2010 | 6:00 p - 8:00 p
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

Harvey Molotch, Laura Norén and NYUPress are pleased to invite you to join them in celebrating the launch of their co-edited volume "Toilet: The public restroom and the politics of sharing". Although what happens in the toilet usually stays in the toilet, Molotch and Norén have brought together academics from architecture, sociology, archeology, urban studies, and the law to peel back layers of taboo, speak the unspeakable and reveal the lessons we can learn in the public restroom.

We will be joined by Rick Bell (Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter) and Catharine Stimpson (Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at NYU) who will be offering brief remarks.

Wine and cheese will be on hand. Please RSVP along with your guests so that will know how many to expect.

This event is co-sponsored by the New York University's Departments of Social and Cultural Analysis and Sociology, NYUPress, and the Institute for Public Knowledge.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time-Based Art: Comparative Lit Colloquium, 12/10

Please join us for the December installment of the Comparative Literature Colloquium next Friday, 12/10, from 1-3 p.m., in room 222 of 19 University Place.

(Note the earlier time, shifted due to the "Music, Language, Thought" event taking place later that afternoon.)

To close out this semester's programing, we are delighted to welcome:

Professor Boris Groys (Department of Russian and Slavic Studies)

With a presentation entitled: "Time-Based Art"

For more information:

GSAS Master's College Program Board Event: Fall Study Break (12/16)

It’s the 125th Year of the Graduate School of Arts and Science. We are proud to dedicate all of our events this year to our milestone birthday. Come celebrate 125 years of academic excellence with The GSAS Master’s College.

The GSAS Master's College Fall Study Break
Thursday, December 16th
4:30 - 6:30 pm
The Grad Commons
Room 120 in the Silver Center

Take a break during finals with the GSAS Master's College Program Board. Meet with master's students from across the Graduate School and toast the end of the
semester. Wine and cheese.

RSVP today to to reserve your spot today.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Message from Draper Student Emily Colucci Re: David Wojnarowicz and NYU

Draper student Emily Colucci has shared the following email with us in response to the recent censorship of David Wojnarowicz's piece "A Fire in My Belly" at the National Portrait Gallery. Emily would like to see this situation addressed directly within the NYU community (the artist's papers are housed in the Fales Collection in Bobst) and is seeking suggestions and feedback from the Draper community. Any suggestions and/or comments should be sent to Emily directly at esc255[at]nyu[dot]edu. Her message is below.


“To place an object or writing that contains what it invisible because of legislation or social taboo into an environment outside myself makes me feel not so alone; it keeps me company by virtue of its existence. It is kind of like a ventriloquist’s dummy—the only difference is that the work can speak for itself or act like that ‘magnet’ to attract others who carried this enforced silence. It also could act as a magnet for those with opposing frames of reference…”—David Wojnarowicz

On the night before World AIDS Day, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. removed a video entitled “A Fire in My Belly” by New York artist David Wojnarowicz from their exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” an exhibition on sexual difference in modern America, after pressure from the Catholic League and House Republicans John Boehner and Eric Cantor. The Catholic League and the House members took offense to an 11 second clip in the video, which depicts a small crucifix being crawled on by ants. Catholic League president William Donohue called the video “hate speech” and Rep. John Boehner decried it as a misuse of taxpayer money. Bowing to these criticisms and the threatening of their taxpayer funds, the National Portrait Gallery removed the film from their exhibition, closely mirroring the Robert Mapplethorpe controversy in 1989.

David Wojnarowicz created “A Fire in My Belly” in 1987 in response to his lover and artistic mentor Peter Hujar’s death from AIDS-related illnesses and his own rage at the silence surrounding the AIDS crisis. Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS-related illnesses five years later in 1992, often worked with difficult or challenging images as a means to articulate his invisibility and the invisibility of other people with AIDS during the late 1980s and 1990s.

David Wojnarowicz’s archives are housed at Fales Library and Special Collections on the Third floor of Bobst Library at NYU and the full-length video, which the National Portrait Gallery cut for exhibition was on loan from Fales. With this connection to NYU and the issues it raises for queer politics, art history and other fields, I feel that something should be done at NYU to address these issues whether it be a reading of Wojnarowicz’s work, a lecture or a discussion about the issues such as freedom of expression, hate speech, and the memory and history of the AIDS crisis, raised by the censoring of this video.

Please let me know any suggestions you may have. I know it is a bad time coming at the end of the Fall semester but with the issues raised by this controversy, a discussion of David Wojnarowicz’s artistic and literary output seems necessary.

Some important links on the Wojnarowicz/National Portrait Gallery controversy:

-PPOW Gallery holds Wojnarowicz’s Estate and has provided the uncut “A Fire in My Belly” film:

-Articles on the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of “A Fire in My Belly”:

-Support Hide/Seek, a Facebook group with frequent updates and news about responses to this controversy:!/

-David Wojnarowicz himself discussing art funding:

Thanks and I look forward to hearing your suggestions.


Emily Colucci