Provocative Image of Christ in Colorado Sets Off a Debate Punctuated With a Crowbar

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For once, the quaint museum on Lincoln Avenue was all quiet. A sign inside was the only indication of the recent trouble.

“This piece was destroyed by an act of violence and is no longer on exhibit,” the sign read.

For weeks now, this bucolic northern Colorado city of just over 60,000, which has a vibrant arts community, has been bitterly divided over the controversial artwork that once sat in the empty display of the Loveland Museum Gallery where the sign now rests.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristology

Posted October 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. St. Nikao wrote:

Would Ms. Ison, the director of this freedom of ‘art’ museum, exhibit a similarly obscene depiction of Mohammed?  Why is Jesus fair game, then?

I am a Christian, who holds a BA and MFA in drawing, painting and art history, And who is offended by the exhibit of Christ in a fictitious sexual act.  Moreover, I would be offended by any depiction of any sexual act in an art museum.

October 17, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

Wearing a T-shirt that read “My Savior Is Tougher Than Nails,” Ms. Folden strode up to the exhibit, took out a crowbar and proceeded to smash the plexiglass casing. To the horror of visitors, she then ripped up the print, just as police officers arrived.

Freedom of speech doesn’t give on the right to scream “fire” in a crowded theatre. Freedom of artistic expression does not give one the right to sculpt the image of a hand grenade and carry that onto an airplane.

The image, as described, is deeply offensive. It most certainly should have been destroyed.

October 17, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
3. Frances S Scott wrote:

I read most of the 140 comments attached to the aticle: the majority were supportive of Ms. Folden’s action, some calling it “performance art”; many seemed to be wishing that they had been the heroine…just lacked the intestinal fortitude.  I am one of those.  I did once deliberately destroy some “sidewalk” art depicting a nun in an equally despicable act; it was easy, the student “artist” has used colored chalk and I merely shuffled my feet as I walked across it while “absently” gazing at the scenery.  Color me yellow.
Frances Scott

October 17, 5:27 pm | [comment link]
4. Teatime2 wrote:

Did the “artist” have the “right” to create this offensive piece? Yes. Does the public have the right not to be exposed to it? Yes. These “artists” don’t seem to understand that. They can fashion any sort of depravity they wish but that doesn’t mean it has to see the light of day. And it shouldn’t. Why on Earth was filth like this on display? Good for the woman who destroyed it!

October 17, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
5. A Senior Priest wrote:

Ah, well, the work was created to get a reaction, wasn’t it? And it got a reaction, so I guess it could be called successful.

October 17, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
6. carl wrote:

Mr. Chagoya said he intended the image to be viewed as a commentary on corruption in the Roman Catholic Church, not a sex act involving Christ, adding that he was shocked at the reaction

This is a good example of just how disconnected the average artist has become from the community at large.  Artists paint for the approval of other artists, and don’t much care about the reaction of the unwashed masses.  In fact, I suspect this artist is mighty pleased that he has become a martyr for the cause, and has suffered ‘persecution’ at the hands of ‘reactionaries.’  But consider this.  Who in his right mind would have extracted the intended meaning of this drawing - assuming charitably that the author actually did intend this meaning?  There are lots of ways to interpret a picture of Christ’s head on a woman’s body during sex, but the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church does not immediately spring to the top of the list.  Or the middle of the list.  Or the bottom of the list for that matter.  Heck, it’s not even on the list.  That’s why I have to be charitable in assuming the author has told the truth about the intent of his drawing.

Ripping the picture up was a bad idea.  Understandable, and emotionally satisfying, but even so a bad idea.  It simply makes us look violent, and creates sympathy for the other side.  What was a propaganda victory has become a propaganda defeat.  It confirms all the worst fears that people have about Christians.  And when you come right down to it, The Lord Jesus isn’t affected by the stupid drawings of stupid artists.  He will go on being King.  He will go on drawing men to Himself.  He will go on fulfilling His will just as He has always done.  And all this nonsense will rebound to His glory. 


October 17, 9:05 pm | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

I agree with Carl.

Christians need to be smart.

All that needs to happen is the following:

—defund the Loveland Museum Gallery in Loveland, Colo
—discover the positions of the City Council members who fund the museum and then vote out of office those City Council members who wish to fund the museum

No need for destroying “art” [sic].  The man should be perfectly free to produce all the art that he pleases.  The issue is in the State’s funding of the art display using tax payer dollars.  Clearly that particular community has certain standards which the museum is determined not to honor.  Thus it is not actually a “community” museum, and should seek private funding for its displays.

October 17, 9:41 pm | [comment link]
8. carl wrote:

7. Sarah wrote:

I agree with Carl.

OK.  Who are you really, and how did you get access to Sarah’s account?


October 18, 1:15 am | [comment link]
9. Ad Orientem wrote:

This reminds me of the opening scene in Mel Brooks (in)famously risque comedy “History of the World Part I” in the stone age when man invents “art” and shortly thereafter there appeared the first critic.  Those who have seen the movie will know what I am referring to.  wink

October 18, 2:16 am | [comment link]
10. Scatcatpdx wrote:

Instead of destroying it I would, in a middle of the night, bolt a manger scene, a copy of ten commandments and a memorial cross to the work just to see what stays and has is removed for violation of church and state rule.

October 18, 5:00 am | [comment link]
11. Br. Michael wrote:

And yet, why not similar treatment for Muhammad and Islam?  The answer is simple:  They will kill the artist.  And that fear is the reason behind the liberal double standard.  Not for any principled reason, but the very practical one that they fear the consequences.

October 18, 8:51 am | [comment link]
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