Controversial Crucifix Film Part of NYC Exhibition

By the Associated Press | November 9, 2011 | 11:40 AM EST

Jesus Christ on crucifix covered with vermin as shown in a video at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the "Hide/Seek" exhibit. (Photo Penny Starr/

New York (AP) — A major exhibition of gay-themed art that includes a film of ants crawling on a crucifix is opening at the Brooklyn Museum next week.

The controversial work was pulled from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., when the exhibition was shown there last year.

"A Fire in My Belly," by the late David Wojnarowicz (Vy-nuh-ROH'vihch), explores the subject of AIDS. A Catholic group called it sacrilegious.

The "Hide/Seek" exhibition opens Nov. 18. It's the first major museum show to explore gay themes in art history.

Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold Lehman said Wednesday the museum received several thousand "pre-programmed" protest emails from a Catholic group when it first announced plans for the exhibition earlier this year.

He called the show an important aspect of American art in the 20th century.