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Thread: Art Gallery faces court over "obscene" statue of Christ.

  1. #26
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    I am really disturbed by some of these posts. I find this statue very offensive to my religion and I want it destroyed. Religion has not caused most of the suffering in this world. Racism, xenophobia, intolerance, fear, the need for scapegoats and ignorance justified by twisted religious beliefs are what has caused suffering and war throughout history. Just because many people believe in their faiths, including myself, doesn't mean they are trying to dictate to others how they should and shouldn't live. You will find extremists in any organisation or cause who will give it a bad name. Just because I and many other Christians want this statue gone not mean that I am gathering together a group of Christian extremists and trying to establish a religious based Orwellian censorship campaign. I don't see why anyone has the right to create or view something that deliberately spits at other people's beliefs just because they happen to be religious ones. Religion is very important to millions of people and has been a comfort during times of hardship. Many people consider their belief in God as an integral part of who they are so to sneer at religion as 'perverse' is extremely insulting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciara View Post
    We dont have the same laws regarding free speech here as you do there. The country was almost split in half over the muslim cartoons.
    That statue would not have been allowed here if it was any other religion but it seems Christianity is fair game.

    No offence but I have no idea why anyone would WANT to see that statue.

    Its not art in my eyes and when someone makes it, they just know its going to cause offence. I think its distasteful, ignorant and unnecessary and to me its also blasphemous.

    I respect your points though
    I understand your opinion Ciara, and I wouldnt want to go see something like that either, but as an artist I do have to say that art is an epression of the artists feelings or imagination. no one makes a big deal about these rap songs that are offensive to women, and yet when religion is involved there is a big deal? dont get me wrong I am a follower fo Christ, but I feel that as offensive as something can be through your eyes, we dont know what the artist was feeling or thinking when creating this and no matter what it is still art, and he has right to let his art work be exhibited.
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    I was gazing upon the statue and trying to figure out where his hips would be, etc. Anotomically, he'd have to be hung like a horse to cause the tent to appear where it does. Certainly isn't the "man's own image and likeness" going on there. (Unless it was modeled after John Holmes.)

    I wouldn't appreciate it as an artful display I'd want in my home (Mona Lisa, either), but neither am I offended by it. I don't offend easily. The crucifixes that doubled as bobs I saw online several years ago... I was offended by. (BOBS = Battery operated Boyfriends)
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    Let's set aside the question of what is art, the right to free speech/expression, etc. for a moment...

    I doubt if those upset by this will take this as a serious question, but it is. Really.

    Why are you upset by this? Mary, his mother had a vagina. Jesus was the son of God created to look like God's human creation. Are you somehow assuming he did not have a penis? Why? And why does the idea of Jesus having one so upsetting?

    Would you be equally upset if it was a depiction of Jess going to the bathroom? Are you somehow also assuming he didn't have any bodily functions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anneinchicago View Post
    Let's set aside the question of what is art, the right to free speech/expression, etc. for a moment...

    I doubt if those upset by this will take this as a serious question, but it is. Really.

    Why are you upset by this? Mary, his mother had a vagina. Jesus was the son of God created to look like God's human creation. Are you somehow assuming he did not have a penis? Why? And why does the idea of Jesus having one so upsetting?

    Would you be equally upset if it was a depiction of Jess going to the bathroom? Are you somehow also assuming he didn't have any bodily functions?
    Jesus preached against the sin of lust. Since Jesus' was sinless, he wouldn't have an erection. (I can't believe I just typed that.)



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    Quote Originally Posted by anneinchicago View Post
    Let's set aside the question of what is art, the right to free speech/expression, etc. for a moment...

    I doubt if those upset by this will take this as a serious question, but it is. Really.
    I am upset by this statue but I don't object to serious questions. Questioning religious matters is a good thing. It helps us work out who we are and what we believe in.

    Quote Originally Posted by anneinchicago View Post
    Why are you upset by this?
    I am upset because this statue was designed with the specific intention of generating attention for the artist by mocking Jesus and Christianity. This person (I do not call him an artist) has spat on the faith of millions by creating an image of Jesus and turning him into an obscene porn star.

    Quote Originally Posted by anneinchicago View Post
    Mary, his mother had a vagina. Jesus was the son of God created to look like God's human creation. Are you somehow assuming he did not have a penis? Why? And why does the idea of Jesus having one so upsetting?
    I have never believed Mary and Jesus were not anatomically correct. Otherwise the nativity story would mention the arrival of a stork or Mary finding Jesus under a cabbage leaf. Jesus having a penis does not upset me. Unless they meet with a serious accident most men do. If this was a statue of a naked Jesus, in the style of Leonardo's David or a naked infant Jesus I would have no problem. Some of the most beautiful artworks of history feature nudity. My problem is that this 'art' is deliberately looking to offend by making Jesus look like either a flasher or a porn star. Aside from the fact that it is Jesus I believe deliberately trying to hurt people by degrading their faith is just evil. Like I said earlier questioning and thinking critically about religion is great but deliberately offending people of a certain faith just for some attention and publicity is inexcusable. As to the question of him having bodily functions I truly don't know because I have heard excellent debate for both sides. I would not like to see an image of Jesus going to the bathroom because the only intention of an artwork like that could be to humiliate Jesus and those of us who believe him to be holy. I hope this explains my viewpoint and answers your questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Knight View Post
    Jesus preached against the sin of lust. Since Jesus' was sinless, he wouldn't have an erection. (I can't believe I just typed that.)
    It is not a sin to have an erection. Think of the millions of men each day that wake up with a "pee" erection. Jesus peed. I'm sure of it. Jesus might have been a great man, but he was... a man.


    And I have a serious question to those who feel Jesus would feel humiliated by the statue. Do you really think he is that petty to worry about his body image on a statue? I think he has bigger things to worry about. He'd rather someone think of him as a dude with a big erection than someone who never existed or didn't matter. I'm pretty sure, anyway.

    Kiki and others that feel upset by the statue.... I am sorry that it's upsetting to you. Just because it doesn't bother me is not an indication that I feel it should not upset you. I just want you to know that. That was a triple negative sentence! My old English teacher would slap me silly!
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    I think the statue is stupid and provocative, but banning it to me is silly, why not test the new decency law over something that IMO is REALLY offensive and destructive to society like torture porn web sites that can't legitimately claim this is in any way political speech or commentary?

    The "artist" got exactly what he wanted out of his "art"...and the real offensive stuff, nobody pays attention to

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medea View Post
    I think the statue is stupid and provocative, but banning it to me is silly, why not test the new decency law over something that IMO is REALLY offensive and destructive to society like torture porn web sites that can't legitimately claim this is in any way political speech or commentary?

    The "artist" got exactly what he wanted out of his "art"...and the real offensive stuff, nobody pays attention to

    Just like Music has it's categories (Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Rap) Maybe we can do Art, Creative Offensive Shock Art, Lousy Art, Classic Art... and then Dr. Seuss Art - my favorite!
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlitchWizard View Post
    Just like Music has it's categories (Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Country, Rap) Maybe we can do Art, Creative Offensive Shock Art, Lousy Art, Classic Art... and then Dr. Seuss Art - my favorite!
    It just seems to me it would be more effective to try and organizes a boycott instead of getting it legally banned.

    A boycott would hit the gallery in their pocket book and, if effective, could reduce the value and prevalence of "shock art"..at least this strategy has a chance of being effective.

    I still think this is a very benign thing to be all worked up about when there are many, many more obscene images out there much more worthy of being banned.

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    Art is intended to make people think, to evoke an emotion, to make you question your beliefs. The fact that this art piece has generated so much discussion, means the artist has achieved his goal.

    Regards,

    Montana

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    I agree with all kiki's posts on this so called "art".

    It hasnt made me question my beliefs or anything else. It has just offended me and I dont see anything artistic about sticking a ***** on a Holy Statue. I think it was intended to offend and I think it was wrong and that it is obscene so I hope the law succeeds. I dont think it takes too many artistic brain cells to sit there and think "I know something that will be very artistic, I'll just go stick a weenie on Jesus".

    Personally I think its a disgusting thing to do and that there was little artistic endeavour involved.
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    As far as I'm concerned, if Jesus didn't spit, puke, defecate, sweat, bleed and, yes, have erections and nocturnal emissions (at the least, assuming He chose to be celibate, which is certainly His right), then He was neither God-in-Man nor God-made-flesh.

    Insisting that Jesus was human except for the parts we're squeamish about ought to offend everyone's intelligence.

    But I understand it doesn't and I see no reason why secular laws need be enacted to protect my view of Christ. So naturally I see no reason why secular laws need be enacted to protect anyone else's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana View Post
    Art is intended to make people think, to evoke an emotion, to make you question your beliefs. The fact that this art piece has generated so much discussion, means the artist has achieved his goal.

    Regards,

    Montana
    Too true. In today's world, it seems it takes much more to shock us than it did years ago. I recall in my great grandmother's diary, how she got a spanking for sticking a stick near a little girl's skirt and lifting it up a little bit. Now a days, you see little girls wearing bikinis on the beach.

    You can no longer shock the world with sexual exploits (doesn't everyone recall CSI with the fuzzy costumes sex party?) and you can no longer shock them with violence (think: SAW movie series) so this man had to go one further - shock the one thing people still hold sacred. Jesus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana View Post
    Art is intended to make people think, to evoke an emotion, to make you question your beliefs. The fact that this art piece has generated so much discussion, means the artist has achieved his goal.

    Regards,

    Montana
    My view of art is a little different, my view of real art is that it is to uplift the viewer, it should be beautiful, dramatic or thought provoking--which is different than shocking.

    There are many, many images that would create discussion that can in no way be construed as 'art'..the 'artist' has achieved his goal, which was to shock people...the sculpture itself is clumsy, not much to write home about in terms of technique. I would call this kitch not art. But, I wouldn't ban it.

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    I'd call it crap not kitch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medea View Post
    My view of art is a little different, my view of real art is that it is to uplift the viewer, it should be beautiful, dramatic or thought provoking--which is different than shocking.

    There are many, many images that would create discussion that can in no way be construed as 'art'..the 'artist' has achieved his goal, which was to shock people...the sculpture itself is clumsy, not much to write home about in terms of technique. I would call this kitch not art. But, I wouldn't ban it.
    I don't think the piece in question is particularly "great" art and maybe the effort to shock is a bit immature. But even assuming the artist was merely provoking shock in a juvenile manner (something we really can't know), isn't that at least as noble a goal as making pretty pictures to match a sofa?

    I don't understand your distinction between "shocking" and "thought provoking." If people don't think as a response to shock, whose fault is that?

    Moreover, exactly how many people must be provoked to think before a work of art is declared successful? There are thoughtful posts in this thread. If many or most Christians don't want to consider the theological implications of a neutered Jesus or the degree to which fear of sex is built into their theology, it doesn't mean that other people won't ponder it quite a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciara View Post
    I'd call it crap not kitch
    A filthy little toddler bringing me a mud pie with a stick in it and claiming it's a piece of art...it IS a piece of art.

    Apparently so is the Mona Lisa (which is dumb looking to me.) I'm certainly no judge of art.

    Maybe we can call shocking stuff Faux Art, and call it F-ART for short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I don't think the piece in question is particularly "great" art and maybe the effort to shock is a bit immature. But even assuming the artist was merely provoking shock in a juvenile manner (something we really can't know), isn't that at least as noble a goal as making pretty pictures to match a sofa?

    I don't understand your distinction between "shocking" and "thought provoking." If people don't think as a response to shock, whose fault is that?

    Moreover, exactly how many people must be provoked to think before a work of art is declared successful? There are thoughtful posts in this thread. If many or most Christians don't want to consider the theological implications of a neutered Jesus or the degree to which fear of sex is built into their theology, it doesn't mean that other people won't ponder it quite a bit.
    A color photo of an aborted fetus will be thought provoking and shocking, but it isn't art. A photo or image of a person being tortured would be thought provoking and shocking, but its not art. And if we look, historically, at the overwhelming majority of great art, even modern art....you are not going to find many images that were created for 'shock value'.

    If the goal was really to promote thoughtful reflection on the sexuality of Jesus Christ or to make a philosphical statement about same, why not a beatuiful statue of Jesus embracing Mary Magdalene instead of the very crude and juvenile statue that was created.

    Many years ago I went to the 'piss christ' exhibit to see what all the fuss was about..and I found that yes, Maplethorpe I think, was a very good photographer but many of the images in the exhibit were too graphic, too crude to really be considered "art" as I define it.

    Something that appeals to the most base instincts, sensational, purient, graphic isn't art in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciara View Post
    I hope this lawsuit succeeds. This "art" is just disgusting and totally unecessary. Its disrespectful too.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ue-Christ.html
    I agree this is not art, just garbage. They need a lesson in real art. It is very disrespectful and I don't believe in making fun of anyones religion whether it be Buddah or a the Sun God it should be respected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medea View Post
    A color photo of an aborted fetus will be thought provoking and shocking, but it isn't art. A photo or image of a person being tortured would be thought provoking and shocking, but its not art. And if we look, historically, at the overwhelming majority of great art, even modern art....you are not going to find many images that were created for 'shock value'.

    If the goal was really to promote thoughtful reflection on the sexuality of Jesus Christ or to make a philosphical statement about same, why not a beatuiful statue of Jesus embracing Mary Magdalene instead of the very crude and juvenile statue that was created.

    Many years ago I went to the 'piss christ' exhibit to see what all the fuss was about..and I found that yes, Maplethorpe I think, was a very good photographer but many of the images in the exhibit were too graphic, too crude to really be considered "art" as I define it.

    Something that appeals to the most base instincts, sensational, purient, graphic isn't art in my opinion.
    "Piss Christ" was by Andres Serrano, but you are correct, of course, that it was very much associated with Maplethorpe's work by politicans trying to exploit public outrage. (I'm not being a know-it-all; I had to look up the spelling of Serrano's name.)

    Like you, I might very much prefer the hypothetical statue of Jesus embracing Mary M., but surely we can agree that such a work would be open to misinterpretation in ways the "Erection Christ" is not.

    As for Modern Art, almost all of it was just as shocking when it first appeared. We're just used to it now. The first word of Jarry's play, Ubu Roi, is "Merde!" Legend has it a riot broke out on opening night in response to that first word. Today, the play is considered a classic and is quite frequently revived without controversy. But that initial audience insisted, rather violently, that the play "wasn't art."

    Even sillier, IMHO, were those who condemned the Realists and Impressionists in the mid-19th century because their paintings of ordinary (i.e., non-royal and not heroic) subjects "wasn't art."

    I think it's all well and good to draw lines between the art one likes and the art one doesn't. Frankly, it sounds like you and I would often agree. But when we start declaring that such and such "is not art," we enter dangerous territory. For surely everything you and I like is "not art" to somebody else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    "Piss Christ" was by Andres Serrano, but you are correct, of course, that it was very much associated with Maplethorpe's work by politicans trying to exploit public outrage. (I'm not being a know-it-all; I had to look up the spelling of Serrano's name.)

    Like you, I might very much prefer the hypothetical statue of Jesus embracing Mary M., but surely we can agree that such a work would be open to misinterpretation in ways the "Erection Christ" is not.

    As for Modern Art, almost all of it was just as shocking when it first appeared. We're just used to it now. The first word of Jarry's play, Ubu Roi, is "Merde!" Legend has it a riot broke out on opening night in response to that first word. Today, the play is considered a classic and is quite frequently revived without controversy. But that initial audience insisted, rather violently, that the play "wasn't art."

    Even sillier, IMHO, were those who condemned the Realists and Impressionists in the mid-19th century because their paintings of ordinary (i.e., non-royal and not heroic) subjects "wasn't art."

    I think it's all well and good to draw lines between the art one likes and the art one doesn't. Frankly, it sounds like you and I would often agree. But when we start declaring that such and such "is not art," we enter dangerous territory. For surely everything you and I like is "not art" to somebody else.
    They don't call it a slippery slope for no reason

    I guess my problem overall is the dumbing down and coarsening of the culture, where you can slap "art" on any kind of nonsense, surely there is some kind of a reasonable ground between banning James Joyce and covering up the genitals on Greek statues and elevating poorly constructed, shock value crap to the level of "art". High art? Low art? Schlock art?

    But, again, I think its ridiculous to "ban" it, since its tame in comparisson to the 'free speech' porn sites all over the Internet...Yet, when anything can be called art, doesn't it diminish the whole category?

    Are velvet Elvises and ugly erect penis Jesus's really in the same category as Botticelli and Picaso just because somebody somewhere likes them and calls them "art"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Knight View Post
    Jesus preached against the sin of lust. Since Jesus' was sinless, he wouldn't have an erection. (I can't believe I just typed that.)


    An erection is a sin???? Whaa haaa - I'm glad Heaven is going to be just a women's place!!!

  25. #50
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    This isn't a lecture, or anything, this is just something I think about from time to time and this post made me think of it again.

    Our homeschool group went on a trip recently to see the art of Phil Bender, and the kids didn't get it. (I didn't really get it, either.) You can see some of his pieces here: http://pirateart.homestead.com/ben1.html This is pretty representative of what we saw, in fact I'm pretty sure the hangers are the same ones we went to see. One of the kids asked, "Why is that art? Why is this different than like a garage sale or something?" Of course, they asked it at the top of their lungs, which always makes you feel pretty stupid in an art gallery! LOL But, I couldn't fault them for asking.

    What is art? There isn't really a definition that everyone can agree on, and just trying to look at what's considered art and go from there doesn't help much.

    If the definition of art is that it's attractive, then I don't think the statue in the article qualifies, but then neither does a lot of Picasso's work. Is art supposed to be uplifting? Then we'll have to toss out Munch's The Scream, because that piece gives me the willies! Is it supposed to represent the human condition? If so, why does Marcel Duchamp's Fountain count? Does it need to depict something real? Then why is Jackson Pollock hanging in a gallery? Is art hard to make? Then we'd better toss out all those Compositions by Mondrian, because you could make those with a ruler and some paint.

    See what I mean? It's confusing! Art doesn't necessarily make any sense.

    Andy Warhol said, "Art is what you can get away with." By that definition, the piece in this article is art, because it's being displayed in a gallery and people are going to see it and talk about it.

    I find this piece disrespectful. If I had any artistic ability, I wouldn't create something like this piece, because I just don't like it. But that doesn't mean it can't be called art. If part of the definition of art is "Does hipmamajen like it?" then American Gothic is out on it's butt, because those two creep me out and when I look at it, I wonder if that's her dad and he's abusing her. That's just me, though...

    Like I said, I don't like it. You're allowed to not like it, too! You can even hate it and wish it would be destroyed in a fire. But I think that to be truthful, you gotta call it art, even if you have to hold your nose while you're doing it.
    Just thinkin' out loud....


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