There's still one place where you can see David Wojnarowicz's work amid the rest of the Hide/Seek show: In the catalog, where an essay and images explain "A Fire in My Belly" before it became synonymous with censorship and controversy. But censorship and controversy have been good for Smithsonian Books, the catalog's publisher, because what was once just a catalog is now a historical document. Complaints from groups like the Catholic League have increased the attention paid to the show, and have encouraged interest in the book. Mark Litts, marketing manager for Smithsonian Books, says that catalog sales have increased in the wake of the film's removal from the Portrait Gallery.
"It definitely surpassed our first year expectations," says Litts. "It's obviously because of this whole situation. All the people who would have been interested in the exhibit and the book know about it, where they might not have otherwise. It's become more important of an exhibit because we've seen this political reaction."
Litts says that sales figures are proprietary, and that he could not provide any specific numbers. However, he says that Smithsonian Books saw a jump in sales beginning two days after the film was removed. He could not say whether the Smithsonian would be printing more copies of the book, because that is a decision typically made after the holidays.
"I think the book has become a holiday gift book, whereas before it was an academic catalog," says Litts.
The book is available online and at the National Portrait Gallery gift store for $45.