Friday, March 30, 2007

Just In Time For Easter: My Sweet Lord

When I first heard about this, I thought "Oh, no, not another 'artist' making sacreligious fun of Jesus when they *probably* wouldn't do it to any other major religious icon," but that was honestly before I read the article. In the context of the article, and seeing a photo of the SIX FOOT TALL CHOCOLATE STATUE named My Sweet Lord, I find it rather fascinating.

It's actually quite realistic, albeit done in chocolate. If someone had done it in marble and a museum commissioned it, I think that people would be in awe over how someone today could make something like that. The fact that this artist used chocolate makes it seem more whimsical that it actually is. This guy is also known for making a whole room out of cheese, so he's already set a precedent for using unusual materials (food) in his art.

I'm an artist myself, so maybe I'm just taking it from the Christian and Artistic viewpoint, but I don't think this was intended to be sacreligious or disrespectful. Quite honestly, look at this picture and tell me that it wouldn't be equally beautiful if he had chosen to do an ice sculpture, clay, or marble instead. Or maybe I'm just a bad Christian. A VERY bad Christian. Especially when I read that this statue was being called "hate speech" and my first thought was "Hate speech? But everyone loves chocolate! Even if you don't like Jesus, you gotta love the chocolate!" The point has also been raised that perhaps this sculpture is a commentary about how we've become such a commercialized society that we've commercialized our most sacred holidays.

Maybe this should be a reminder that we should be looking for Jesus on Easter rather than how much chocolate we can stuff into our kid's baskets. Bring a little Jesus back to Easter. Let Jesus have a little chocolate. He certainly suffered enough for it.

But then again, I think there are worse things for people to be offended about. Such as, say, a President who refuses to consider discussing removing our troops from an Occupation that has gone so far awry that his own party is starting to vote against him.

I suppose other religions think it's odd to begin with that many Christians buy chocolate crucifixes, and just view this as another weird thing about Christians. Or maybe it really is meant to be sacreligious and poke fun at how seriously people take religion and religious images. In the end, then, it's all about the intent of the artist. Either way, I don't think that the humor that's apparent in the piece is meant to be insulting. I don't think the fact that My Sweet Lord is nude is insulting or rude either, because it's very possible that Jesus (whose real name, I heard today, was Y'shua). It's not profane. It was actually done quite respectfully and tastefully. Pun intended.

Ah well, look for yourself. We probably wouldn't see 6-foot tall chocolate Buddha or MLK. But here it is, Chocolate Jesus.

Six-Foot Chocolate Jesus Most Anticipated Easter Work At Gallery
By Press Release
Mar 28, 2007

NEW YORK -- World renowned artist Cosimo Cavallaro unveils his latest and most striking
installation at the Lab Gallery (at the Roger Smith Hotel, 47th and Lexington avenue) in the early morning hours of April 1st.

Jesus, The 485,460-Calorie Messiah
Cavallaro's work, entitled "My Sweet Lord" is a 6
foot tall, anatomically correct sculpture of Jesus Christ in milk chocolate.

"I'm truly thrilled to be working with Cosimo again," says Matt Semler Creative Director of the Lab. "The sign of any great artist is how their work affects the observer. His art always gets a reaction, but this is the most dramatic piece of his career. It is absolutely amazing."

The exhibit can be viewed from the street when the velvet curtains of the gallery open from midnight to 1 AM and 6 PM to 7PM (starting April 1st and closing April 7th).

Although Cavallaro has work in permanent collections of museums world-wide, he is best remembered for covering a New York City hotel room in melted cheese (1999).

In the article below, the response to My Sweet Lord:

Chocolate Jesus Portrayed Nude And Crucified Subject Of Scorn
By L.A. Morris
Mar 30, 2007

Chocolate Jesus Sparks Outrage -
Catholic League president Bill Donohue issued a call to arms yesterday for fellow catholics to boycott an upcoming Easter exhibit at the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in New York on from April 1 through 7.

The exhibit announced its 6-foot chocolate Jesus piece, one of the most anticipated, earlier this week, but there was no description of the Jesus depiction as naked.

Worse, the lifelike depiction shows Jesus crucified, information which also was not offered in the original art show press release which the Post Chronicle published
yesterday. Metro also has a photo of an unfinished 'Jesus'

Artist Cosimo Cavallaro titles his work "My Sweet Lord".

The Catholic League has denounced the depiction as "hate speech" and called for a boycott of the Lab Gallery at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York during the April 1 through April 7 display.

The Post Chronicle was the first media outlet to cover the exhibit and sparked Donahue into action.

"Choosing Holy Week -- the display opens on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday -- makes it a direct in-your-face assault on Christians."

"The boycott is on."

Donohue outlined his game plan thusly:

"The Roger Smith Hotel is located in the heart of New York City, and it boasts on its website that its Lab Gallery 'is a high traffic, fast paced' venue. Indeed it is: the gallery is located on street level, easily accessible to the public. But it is sure bet
that in the years to come there will be little in the way of high traffic coming
from the Christian community.

1 comment:

Allie D. said...

LOL!! you totally knew I would go for this. Hell, last Easter I wrote about how I would really get into this holiday if there was a chocolate Jesus! I guess I don't have anymore excuses. ;)