Sunday, 1 April 2007

Choccy Christ Cancelled

Cosimo Cavallaro - My Sweet Lord (2007)This is not an April Fool's gag. The Catholic heavy mob has forced a New York art gallery - Manhattan's Lab Gallery, housed in the Roger Smith Hotel - to cancel its showing of Cosimo Cavallaro's My Sweet Lord, a six-foot statue of Christ starkers, sculpted in chocolate (CLICK). It's rather good too. Tasty, you might say. It seems we're allowed chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, but not a chocolate statue of Christ in the buff in a crucified posture that befits Easter. The Roger Smith Hotel chickened out after the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights demanded a boycott. Nobody seems to have pointed out that viewing works of art is a civil right. And how hypocritical to complain about a chocolate-coloured Christ, in the guise of civil rights!


At 2/4/07, Blogger Kitty said...

When are people going to stop paying any attention whatsoever to religious nutters? That's what I would like to know. I think artists and galleries should stage their own boycott in return!

At 3/4/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Kitty
Absolutely. The nutters are getting worse, because they're following the Muslim lead. A Catholic protestor in the original article actually said something about portraits of Mohammed not being allowed. Neither the UK nor USA government should have backed down on that one. They're running scared, and that has emboldened religious nutters everywhere.

At 3/4/07, Anonymous Art News Blog said...

The best way to handle these kind of people is to ignore them. The gallery should have laughed them out the door.

By giving into their demands, the gallery is giving the organisation power.. and the motivation to do it again in the future.. which is a pity.

At 3/4/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Exactly. Show them the door and the nutters would have had egg all over their faces. We hope. Trouble is, New York has a huge Catholic population, the Italian Mafia for starters. So maybe a Catholic boycott was an offer they couldn't refuse.
I'm still wondering if the nutters would have complained about a Christ sculpted in white chocolate. Was this a nudity ban or a colour ban?
P.S. Have you tried the uses-for-a-brick test yet?

At 4/4/07, Anonymous Rebecca said...

Jesus is quoted as saying at the Last Supper, "Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you." In the first Holy Communion, Christ was breaking bread--not chocolate, which grew only in the yet undiscovered Americas. Certainly if Jesus had had access to chocolate it would have become a sacramental food. Catholic priests later found indigenous Americans had similar bread-breaking sacraments of their own. I find the choice of material interesting, and rather beautiful. The modeling of the nude figure is tenderly and lovingly done. The name My Sweet Lord, and the beauty of the piece suggest reverence and devotion in a sweetly playful way. It is too bad that the gallery caved in and canceled the show.

At 4/4/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Rebecca
I find your comment most interesting, because you're obviously religious and it hadn't occurred to me how a Christian would view this work. It seemed that the Catholic heavy mob was speaking for Christendom when it complained. As an atheist, I couldn't see what the fuss was about; more nutters ranting.
The Holy Communion aspect hadn't struck me either, because I was raised as an Anglican. No vicar ever tried to shove a wafer in my mouth, and I'd have bitten him if he tried. As you point out, the Holy Communion idea makes sense of the use of chocolate. And, let's face it, the chocolate industry has hijacked Easter. It's all Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. Why not put the two aspects together?
As a work of art, it looks good. I remember a beautiful statue of Christ crucified, in St Paul's Cathedral. Very similar. That's in white marble and Jesus wears a loincloth. Those are the only important differencies. So where did the blasphemy come in? Was it the nudity or the fact that using chocolate made Jesus look like an Indian (Asian Indian) or a black? Was the complaint due to prudishness or racism?
A naked Christ looks more realistic to me. The Romans weren't prudes. I can't imagine a kind legionnaire putting a loincloth on Jesus after the flagellation.
And I can't see anything to contradict what you say about the artist's reverence. The work looks sincere.
Why don't you email the Catholic heavy mob and tell them what you think? Their official title is in my blog, and they must have a website. It would do them good to be criticized by a Catholic with an opposing point of view.


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