Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chocolate Jesus Cancelled

The “chocolate Jesus” exhibit has been cancelled from the art show due to open on 2 April at a New York gallery.

The gallery’s artistic director, Mark Semler, said the decision to cancel was a result of "strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing.” I wish he’d taken the decision to explain what they were doing rather than simply cancelling (although I don’t think the cancellation will be of any great loss to art history).

However when he says that “the timing of the exhibition - when Christians mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ - was coincidental,” he really has to be kidding!

He didn’t realise it was Holy Week? He forgot? I wish people would at least be honest… Is that too much to ask?

But I'm equally dis-satisfied with the attitude of the Catholic League. Their spokeswoman says:

"They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan."

True enough. But if the issue is the showing of genitals, then they have no grounds for objection. Criminals were crucified naked, without a loincloth. One of the main theological motifs of the crucifixion is its offence - the symbol of a humiliated God who was stripped of all dignity and still died forgiving. The loincloth is a symbol of human inability to face up to that.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

I'm a fan of conceptual art, but since much of its effect is what happens behind the eyes rather than what's in front of them, it's susceptible to all kinds of hype and misperceptions.

This one sounds like there's not much beyond enigmatic shock value, something that's been around for fifty years, minimum; I doubt the artist could talk about it credibly for more than twenty seconds. Not to mention the fact that the gallery director seems to have already given the game away.

On the other hand, as a hype vehicle, the piece has already done its job--it's gotten a reaction without exhibition. It sounds like it falls somewhere between the pointless Piss Christ and Chris Ofili's dung Madonna, which also ran into some trouble over its allegedly blasphemous implications (never mind that the dung was odorless and unrecognizable, and the painting was charming and light, something that could delight a five-year-old).

Oh well. I guess I'll just wait for Damien Hirst's next mistake.