Obama for Savior ’08
Unless you were participating in an American Idol hairstyle vigil this month, you probably noticed much talk about Blessing, David Cordero’s scandalous papier-mache sculpture depicting Barack Obama as a saintly figure. Cordero, who will receive his BFA from the School of the Art Institute this May, was interviewed by everyone from Fox News to NPR; it was the former, however, who really got the ball rolling down the controversy hill. Obama, who is featured robed and haloed in Cordero’s piece, was fodder for Fox to conduct poll after poll, asking their online readers just how scandalous they thought a black president might be. Eighty percent found Cordero’s work offensive. So did the former ambassador to the Vatican and Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, who went on MSNBC in a Crossfire-esque format to hurl his verbal displeasure at viewers. Cordero was invited to participate in the frenzy of yammering, but declined due to being completely tired of talking about it.
In an interview with F Newsmagazine, Cordero said he suspected that his piece might cause a stir, preparing for the media frenzy by writing and rewriting his artist statement and asking for help from mentors. Cordero also alerted Barack Obama and his family of the sculpture and explained his motives for creating the piece, though he admits that “it’s difficult to account for all of an artist’s motives.” Cordero was not surprised at the Obama camp’s official response that Obama doesn’t support art that is religiously offensive.
Cordero says he is happy with the attention Blessing has received, though he refrains from googling his name and reading blogs about himself in order to preserve his sanity. Though SAIC fielded most press requests, Cordero had to cut class for interviews with several news outlets, and eventually began declining interviews, so that he could “focus on trying to graduate,” which, he admitted, had fallen to the wayside.
As a testament to Cordero’s sensitivity and respectful nature, he declined to do a segment for Spanish-speaking television network Telemundo because he did not want to upset his grandmother in Puerto Rico, who would be horrified to see such a fusing of religion and Obama.
Man kicks hole through painting
367 years after Ottavio Vannini—who was at one time important enough to complete Florentine frescoes, but who today isn’t important enough to have a Wikipedia page—completed The Triumph of David, a painting depicting the climactic finish of the biblical David beating the crap out of the big old giant Goliath by holding Goliath’s decapitated head like a dead chicken hanging from its ankles, a 21-year old Wisconsin man took off his shirt and kicked a hole through it.
Apparently, the man was disturbed by the image of David holding a severed human head. The painting (pre-hole) was estimated at around $300,000, and was on loan from the Haukohl family, Milwaukee-based collectors who have since relocated to Texas. The museum claims that the family, which was contacted within a half-hour of the attack, was very understanding.
Officials say the man yanked the painting down from the wall after touring the museum for about three hours and ripping his own shirt off to reveal a large tattoo of Koko the gorilla. The museum has already begun the conservation process and expects to be successful.
Son of a Dog
Christians had plenty to get huffy about this Easter, as there was no shortage of Jesus-mocking art. Fortunately, bloggers and proper news-media alike called attention to these pieces, just in case liberals had missed them.
In Florida, a painting of the Last Supper populated by dogs was denied a place on the wall in galleries because of the allegedly controversial nature of the painting.
Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog, Ron Burns’ latest phosphorescent masterpiece, features his own beloved mutt, Rufus, in Jesus’ seat, flanked on either side by dogs of different breeds as stand-ins for the apostles. The table is set with typical doggie snacks, mixed drinks, tennis balls, and bowls of kibble.
This is not the first time Burns has taken an existing painting and replaced the subjects with dogs of his preference. Both Lichtenstein and Matisse have been treated to Burns’ canine reinterpretation, and in 2006 Burns went as far as to take C.M. Coolidge’s painting of dogs playing poker and replace those dogs with different dogs, once again, putting Rufus in the center.
Burns has been quoted as saying, “Maybe the world isn’t ready for this. Truth is, I wasn’t trying to be controversial with this one. I love Da Vinci, I love dogs and it seemed like a fun idea to bring the two together.”
Though one can purchase novelty chocolate Jesuses for Easter baskets each year, one sugary Jesus has caused a gallery’s creative director to resign and a hotel to fear for its safety.
My Sweet Lord, a six-foot, 200-pound rendering of Jesus, sans loin cloth, arms out-stretched, was on display in Lab Gallery in New York during Holy Week, much to the dismay of alert Catholics across the United States. The delicious, dark chocolate savior only lasted a few days before the Roger Smith Hotel, which houses the gallery, demanded that the installation be taken down.
The gallery director believes that the installation was stopped by people who had never even seen the show, but had heard about it through Roman Catholic networks of communication, which stretch throughout the U.S. like an elaborate network of sewers. The hotel was bombarded with phone calls and threats, and claims it could no longer afford to be supportive of the confectionary Christ.
One frenzied Catholic by the name of Bill Donahue, according to various sources, claimed that the endorphin-enhancing Jesus installation is “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” Worse, even, than Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ [editor’s observation].
Cosimo Cavallaro, the artist responsible for creaing My Sweet Lord, and the subsequent assault on Christian sensibilities, was raised Catholic and had no intention of pissing off other Catholics with his piece. He has stated he intends to apologize and do ten Hail Marys to squash the panic of the offended Catholics. He also recommends, however, that these folks “lighten up.”
Sol LeWitt, minimalist, conceptual artist, and builder of “structures,” (not to be confused with sculptures), died on April 8 at the age of 78.
Jean Baudrillard, French social theorist, philosopher, war critic, and rejecter of the term “postmodernism,” died at the age of 77.
Kurt Vonnegut, writer, cranky old cynic, and Bush-hater died this month at the age of 84 from brain injuries after a fall in his New York City apartment.