Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chocolate Jesus

Sculptor Cosimo Cavallaro stirred up controversy in New York recently by casting a life-sized statue of Jesus in milk chocolate for Holy Week. One could assume that the sculpture is a swipe at the commercialization of the Easter holiday, and what better way to critique the vapidity of Easter marketing than by sculpting a life-sized milk chocolate Jesus? It's sort of an obvious target, but I'm a bit surprised that the Catholic League didn't get the point Cavallaro was trying to make, and instead saw the sculpture as blasphemous.

Part of the problem was that this Jesus is anatomically-correct, which offended Catholics who apparently believe that the historical Jesus was not anatomically correct. I also find this fairly disingenuous frankly because, as a kid, I saw any number of religiously correct images of a nude Jesus on the cross. There's something childish about the complaint, and even if you agree with it, I fail to see how this makes the sculpture "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," as claimed by the Catholic League. Like most political groups (well... and the state), the Catholic League exists by manufacturing "assaults" on itself, in this case playing martyrs to milk chocolate. The most popular sales pitch in politics is "You're under attack! Come with us if you want to be safe!" Is it really surprising to see Arnold Schwartzenegger doing so well in the political arena?

Also, one has to wonder if a white chocolate Jesus would have provoked the same outcry.

The exhibit was eventually shut down after the hotel hosting the gallery received death threats, a tactic that seems all-too-effective these days. I wish that people wouldn't censor themselves every time religious fanatics threaten to kill them as a sacrifice to their loving God. On the other hand, what place do we really have to tell some lowly hotel employee that they should give their life for chocolate Jesus?

17 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

I hope somebody thought to catch that on film. Hopefully it can be accessed somewhere. I've already got a killer title in mind. Thanks, if I do a post on it I'll be sure and give you a link back.

The Pagan Temple said...

Wait a minute, I just realized-the Catholic Leaque. Isn't that whackjob Bill Donahue's group? Shit, he's one of my favorite targets anyway, ever since he molested little Dakota Fanning. Hell, now I KNOW I gotta chime in on this.

Anonymous said...

If they really don't like this artist and his chosen mode of expression they would do a lot more damage to the guy by ignoring him. Every single time these nitwits have a hissy fit over some art-hack that person cashes in and becomes an over night cause célèbre. When will they ever catch on?

The Pagan Temple said...

Anonymous-they have caught on, they know what they're doing. This isn't about denying success to an artist they don't like, this is about getting their whackjob supporters all fired up so they'll send them contributions. That's how people like Donahue, among others, make their livings.

sock puppet said...

Here's a link to the artist's site, with a photo of the chocolate Jesus. Any of the news clips I've read show Jesus from the waist up, or from behind. None of the clips are worth referring to, as they all say the same thing.

http://www.cosimocavallaro.com/

Rufus said...

Perhaps they collaborate on it. The artist needs attention and the Catholic League needs attention- maybe it's an I-scratch-your-back- you-scratch-mine sort of deal.

Anonymous said...

So, Rufus, you're positing a conspiracy between know-nothing religious nuts and art school deritus? Poseur meets pastor and a deal is struck over cocktails. It could fit nicely into a greater theory of over all cultural domination. Thanks for the paranoia boost.

Rufus said...

It all makes sense now, doesn't it? Patrick, I suggest your post on the subject be written in the form of a back-room discussion between Donahue and an artist. Something like: "Okay, so Mr. Donahue, as you know, my art isn't selling very well lately, and donations to your organization have been down. So, what I propose is a performance art piece in which I take a shit on a crucifix..."

Anonymous said...

I'm imagining a bd/sm slant. Cavallaro, dungeon master, holding a cat o'nine tails stands over a cowering hog-tied Donahue:
Cav: You've been a bad boy again, haven't you?
Don: Oh please, master...
Cav: So, you didn't like chocolate Jesus, eh? Well, chocolate Jesus is very disappointed in you, Don.
Don: I didn't mean it. Really.
Cav: You see this crucifix? You know what this means don't you?
Don: Please, no.
Cav: Time for the ball gag mask, Don. You don't want anyone to recognize you in the photos, now do you?
Later the same week said crucifix, the very relic of Don's humiliation, along with the photos of the defilement are displayed prominantly in an uptown gallery.

Rufus said...

Now this sounds like a good idea for a short film!

Anonymous said...

I think I shall make my directorial debut on You Tube. As soon as I can find someone who wants to play Don.

All of this is clearly not getting to the important points, though. Such as: is chocolate Jesus hollow or solid? Are they gonna bust him up on Easter and everyone gets a peice?

Rufus said...

You could probably get him to play himself actually. And then get him to denounce the film.

I was wondering if anyone had made a marshmallow peep Jesus, but I think someone already has!

Anonymous said...

Good point. He could say he was tricked. Then he could go into rehab like that guy that really was gay while he was bashing gays.

Rufus said...

I'm waiting for him to write a memoir about his one-week road to recovery. Well, and then the inevitable relapse.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, there's relapse in the cards the size of Kansas for that one. Once he gets caught with his hand in the er... cookie jar... again. Methinks a bit o' the ol' stoning in the public square a la the old testament might make him come around. I mean, those nuts do READ the old testament, right? Oh, wait, with thier adultery/divorce statistics I guess not.

Rufus said...

I think they get their religion from animated DVDs featuring anthropomorphic vegetables actually.

David said...

Well, as a Christian, I can understand what the guy was trying to get at (perhaps) but I found his (audio) comment on the website somewhat offensive. Doesn't mean it should be banned, but I don't agree. If anything, I think it stirs up the sort of "versus" mentality that a lot of people are trying to avoid.

Also, what's up with the anti-religious snipes?