ART DEBATE ENSUES
Catalyst April Issue 2001, Front Page
The lead article in the last issue of Catalyst was on the latest flap at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It involved the Catholic League’s criticism of “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” a photographic exhibit that featured artist Renee Cox appearing nude as Jesus in a rendition of the Last Supper. On February 20, Donohue debated Cox at the First Amendment Center in New York.
In front of an unsympathetic audience, Donohue branded Cox’s work “anti-Catholic propaganda.” He pointedly asked Cox, who is black, whether she would object to a picture of a white man urinating into the mouth of Martin Luther King and having it displayed in a public library during Black History Month. Cox got indignant but never answered him on whether she would simply regard this as art.
When the crowd showed sympathy for Cox, Donohue said he had another example for them to consider: imagine a picture of Hitler with a halo over his head sticking a dagger into the side of Jew. Once again, no one would say that they wouldn’t protest such a vulgar display. Thus did Donohue make his point.
Joining the debate was Edward Cardinal Egan of New York who called Cox “pathetic.” Mayor Rudolph Giuliani went further saying he would ask for a decency panel to screen art scheduled to be shown at public museums. Also condemning the art was the Orthodox Jewish Community of New York..