Thursday, October 7, 2010

No love for Jesus in Loveland

Posted By on Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 4:40 PM

UPDATE: 4:40 p.m., Oct. 7

Those of you interested in seeing Chagoya's controversial "Misadventure" work no longer have a chance. No, the work was not removed from the museum, it was destroyed by 56-year-old Kathleen Folden of Montana yesterday afternoon. Folden broke the display case with a crowbar and ripped the work to shreds before being subdued by others in the gallery. She is now facing possible criminal charges.

You can read the full story here. The article points out that "Misadventure" hung in the MCA Denver for four months last year without a peep.

You can see the full image of the now-defunct print here.

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Mexican artist Enrique Chagoya's lithograph "The Misadventure of the Romantic Cannibals" has sent people across the country in an uproar for the work's image of Jesus receiving oral sex.

"Misadventure" is part of an exhibit The Legend of Bud Shark & His Indelible Ink, now hanging in the Loveland Museum Gallery. The show is a collection of prints by 10 artists who worked with master printmaker Shark at his studio in Lyons, of which Chagoya is one. Cydney Payton of MCA Denver curated Legend.

Gazette columnist Wayne Laugesen finds the image offensive as a Christian and wants it removed immediately (read his column here). He argues that Chagoya's work has every right to exist, by virtue of the First Amendment, but not in a government-funded setting, and the museum is supported by tax dollars. He's got a good point.

The link for an image "Misadventure" in Laugesen's column doesn't display the work anymore, but you can see portions of it in a video here and view other works by Chagoya at sharksink.com/artists.asp?artists=15.

I don't know enough about Chagoya to judge whether he works purely for shock value, though from the few works I've seen today, it doesn't appear so to me.

So all I have to wonder is, if sex is so offensive, what about images showing intense violence? I've seen plenty of works in state museums depicting people (including children) being raped, getting their noses cut off and burning alive. It's all for the sake of history, one can say. Many, like the image below, are considered widely as masterpieces.

And no one gets in a twist about that.

Detail from Ilya Repins 1885 painting, Ivan the Terrible and His Son
  • Detail from Ilya Repin's 1885 painting, "Ivan the Terrible and His Son"

For more information on the show, which is up through Nov. 28, visit ci.loveland.co.us/cultural_services/cultural_services_museum_exhibits.htm.

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