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  • Chocolate Jesus sculpture angers Catholic group


    NEW YORK: The Easter season unveiling of an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, dubbed "My Sweet Lord" by its creator, has a Catholic group infuriated.

    "This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, said Thursday. "It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing - to choose Holy Week is astounding."

    The 6-foot (1.8-meter) sculpture by the artist Cosimo Cavallaro was to be unveiled Monday evening, the day after Palm Sunday and just four days before Roman Catholics mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The final day of the exhibit at the Lab Gallery in the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown Manhattan was planned for Easter Sunday.

    "The fact that they chose Holy Week shows this is calculated, and the timing is deliberate," said Donohue, whose group represents 350,000 Catholics nationwide.

    He called for an economic boycott of the hotel, which he described as "already morally bankrupt."

    The gallery's creative director, Matt Semler, said the Lab and the hotel were overrun with angry telephone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. Although he described Donohue's response as "a Catholic fatwa," Semler said the gallery was considering its options amid the criticism.

    "We're obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offense people have taken," said Semler, adding that the Holy Week timing was an unfortunate coincidence. "We are certainly in the process of trying to figure out what we're going to do next."

    The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds, or about 90 kilograms, of milk chocolate, and it features Christ with his arms outstretched as if on an invisible cross. Unlike the typical religious portrayal of Christ, the Cavallaro creation does not include a loincloth.

    Cavallaro, who was raised in Canada and Italy, is best known for his quirky work with food as art: Past efforts include repainting a Manhattan hotel room in melted mozzarella, spraying 5 tons of pepper jack cheese on a Wyoming home and festooning a four-poster bed with 312 pounds of processed ham.

    The Christ sculpture will be on display from April 2- April 7 from 6 P.M. to 7 P.M., with a final showing from midnight to 1 A.M. on Easter Sunday. Its location on the ground floor ensures attention from the thousands of passers-by in the busy neighborhood just north of Grand Central Terminal.

    Semler was particularly upset by the call for a boycott of the hotel, which he said was not involved in the selection of "My Sweet Lord."

    It is not the first time that Donohue's group and the art world have been at odds. A painting of "The Holy Virgin Mary" that used a splash of elephant dung drew outrage in 1999.


  • #2

    NEW YORK — A life-size sculpture of a naked Jesus made out of chocolate has angered Roman Catholic leaders, and a Manhattan art gallery is reconsidering whether to exhibit it during the Easter season.

    The sculpture “My Sweet Lord” by Cosimo Cavallaro was to be exhibited for two hours each day next week in a street-level window of the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan. It was set to open on Monday, days ahead of Good Friday when Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus.

    “We're considering our options,” Matthew Semler, the gallery's artistic director, said on Friday. “We're still assessing the situation.”

    The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for a boycott of the affiliated Roger Smith Hotel, writing to 500 religious and secular organizations.

    “This is an assault on Christians during Holy Week,” said Kiera McCaffrey, director of communications for the league, which describes itself as the largest U.S. Catholic civil-rights group.

    “They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the prophet Mohammad naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan,” she said.

    The archbishop of New York called it “scandalous” and a “sickening display.”

    “The Catholic community is alerted to this offence of our faith and sensitivities. This is something we will not forget,” Cardinal Edward Egan said in a statement.

    Mr. Semler said the hotel had no knowledge of what the gallery planned to show and was being unfairly targeted. Moreover, he said the work was not irreverent.

    “It's intended as a meditation on the Holy Week,” Mr. Semler said of the sculpture, which depicts Jesus as if on the cross. Easter Sunday, this year April 8, is celebrated as the day of Jesus' resurrection.

    A photo of the piece on the artist's Web site (Cosimo Cavallaro) shows the work suspended in air.

    New York is familiar with clashes between art and religion.

    In 1999, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to withdraw a grant from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a painting depicting the Virgin Mary as a black woman splattered with elephant dung adorned with cut-outs from pornographic magazines.

    Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking a different approach.

    “If you want to give the guy some publicity, talk more about it, make a big fuss,” Mr. Bloomberg told WABC radio. “If you want to really hurt him, don't pay attention.”

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    • #3
      CBS) NEW YORK -- A chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that's caused an uproar after it was scheduled to be displayed to the public in a Manhattan hotel's gallery during Easter week will no longer be on exhibit, New York City CBS television station WCBS-TV has confirmed.

      The six-foot, 120-pound candy sculpture dubbed "My Sweet Lord" by creator Cosimo Cavallaro, was supposed to be unveiled to the public Monday night at a gallery inside the Roger Smith Hotel on East 47th Street in a window that faces the street. Criticism over the sculpture has come not only because of the medium of candy but because of the timing of its exhibition.

      Cavallaro says Catholics shouldn't be offended by the chocolate creation. "I'm doing it as a celebration of Christ. It's food, it's nurturing, it's sweet, there's nothing menacing about it," he told WCBS-TV. "It tastes great. I love it and it's all about taste for me - if I can taste it before I can touch it - on a religious object, on an inanimate object, on anything."

      In a statement to WCBS-TV, New York Archbishop Edward Cardinal Egan had this to say about the sculpture:

      "The media have reported that a so-called 'work of art,' manifestly intended to offend the Christians of our community, will be displayed during Holy Week in the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan. It is a scandalous carving of Jesus Christ allegedly made out of chocolate. What the Roger Smith Hotel would hope to achieve by this sickening display, no one seems to know. The Catholic community is alerted to this offense of our faith and sensitivities. This is something we will not forget."

      The sculpture had been temporarily housed inside a warehouse in Long Island City, but Cavallaro was asked to remove it after the warehouse's owner said he'd been receiving threats because of the sculpture.

      Many were calling for the Roger Smith gallery to cancel the display, which they decided to do Friday afternoon. "We're getting a phenomenal human response here to this, to this question and to the piece of art," Gallery Director Matt Semler told WCBS-TV.

      Other Catholic officials agreed with the Archbishop's sentiments.

      "This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group. "It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing - to choose Holy Week is astounding."

      The sculpture was created from over 200 pounds of milk chocolate, and depicted a completely nude Jesus with outstretched arms.

      There is no word yet as to what Cavallaro plans to do with the sculpture now.

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      • #4
        'Calls included death threats'

        A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday after Cardinal Edward Egan and other outraged Catholics complained.

        The "My Sweet Lord" display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Roger Smith Hotel president James Knowles cited the public outcry for his decision.

        The reaction "is crystal clear and has brought to our attention the unintended reaction of you and other conscientious friends of ours to the exhibition," Knowles wrote in the two-paragraph cancellation notice.

        Matt Semler, the gallery's creative director, resigned in protest.

        The six-foot sculpture was the victim of "a strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing," Semler said. "They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions."

        But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as "a sickening display." Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."

        The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display.

        "In this situation, the hotel couldn't continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety," Semler said.

        The sculpture was to debut Monday evening, the day after Palm Sunday and just four days before Roman Catholics mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The final day of the exhibit was planned for Easter Sunday.

        The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds of milk chocolate, and features Christ with his arms outstretched as if on an invisible cross. Unlike the typical religious portrayal of Christ, the Cavallaro creation does not include a loincloth.

        Cavallaro hoped the sculpture could go on display elsewhere, according to Semler...

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        • #5

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          • #6
            The miserable sods - it sounds like quite a fun exhibit to me!

            Mind you, I can only imagine the reaction if it had been a choclate Muhammad...



            V

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            • #7
              i wonder if they got just as mad at that "Jesus is my Homeboy" w/ Jesus in shades t-shirt... If you ask me, that's no way to treat a prophet, and in the Christians' case, he's their god.

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              • #8
                The overwhelming force of the religious right was demonstrated yesterday when an exhibition by an international artist to be held in mid-town Manhattan was cancelled after a campaign was launched against it on the ground that it was disrespectful towards Christianity.

                My Sweet Lord, a 6ft representation of Jesus, was to have been unveiled over holy week in a gallery on Lexington Avenue but was withdrawn under fire from the Catholic League, an organisation of religious conservatives with 300,000 members. The group objected to the fact that the sculpture is made of more than 200lbs of chocolate and that the figure's genitalia are on display.

                On Thursday the league sent emails to 500 other religious groups - including Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist with a combined reach of millions - calling on them to boycott the Roger Smith hotel in which the gallery, the Lab, is based. Within 24 hours the hotel was so inundated with calls and visiting protesters that it pulled the exhibit.

                Sculptor Cosimo Cavallaro, 45, is known for his large-scale installations. In 1999 he covered a room of the Washington Jefferson hotel in New York with cheddar cheese. Two years later he sprayed 10,000lb of cheese over the entire interior of a house in Wyoming.

                Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said the work was a direct assault on Christians. "All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don't react the way extremist Muslims do when they're offended."

                That the work of an internationally renowned artist can be pulled from a gallery in Manhattan - arguably the most liberal city in the US - is an indication of the power that organised religion wields within the country.

                Matt Semmler, director of the Lab, told the Guardian before the cancellation was announced that neither he nor the artist had any intention to offend. "For me this is done a place of reverence and meditation - that's why I chose the piece. This is not intended to be disrespectful."

                He added that over the centuries there had been thousands of depictions of Christ in many different styles.

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                • #9
                  it's dissrespect, yet....in some way it's art too...

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                  • #10
                    Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said the work was a direct assault on Christians. "All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don't react the way extremist Muslims do when they're offended."


                    well mister 'proper' from an "organized religion', maybe it's because
                    "over the centuries there had been thousands of depictions of Christ in many different styles."
                    so to have a depiction of Jesus in chocolate wasn't taken as such a shock as equivilant to 'extremist Muslims" (although i am against any depictions of any Prophet of Allah whom we've never seen before- let alone it's disgusting to have anyone depicted naked in chocolate. that's shameful) but over the centuries not once was there a depiction of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)! Those unacceptable depictions of our Prophet came so shockingly- like the "shot that herd 'round the world." oh yeah, you better believe we let the world hear our reaction to that 'shot'.


                    PEACE
                    Last edited by amalgamate; 1st April 2007, 07:28.
                    It seems as if one fails to conceive
                    The meaning my name strives to achieve

                    To a biological form you cannot relate-
                    Because a reproductive cell is a gamete not gamate!

                    It means to unite, -to become consolidated
                    So without me in a.com, is there hope we'd be amalgamated?

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                    • #11
                      for the makers it may be art, to me this is 100% wrong.

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                      • #12
                        At the end of the day, you can't (and shouldn't) legislate for people not to say mean things about a relgion, whether that religion be Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other.

                        Those unacceptable depictions of our Prophet came so shockingly- like the "shot that herd 'round the world." oh yeah, you better believe we let the world hear our reaction to that 'shot'.
                        Yeah, and what a diplomatic wonder the riots were, eh?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by voltaire View Post

                          At the end of the day, you can't (and shouldn't) legislate for people not to say mean things about a relgion, whether that religion be Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other...

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                          • #14

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                            • #15

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