New York, NY – Sotheby’s auctioned the Andres Serrano masterpiece “Piss Christ.” The taxpayers were forced to fund this “art” in 1987 to the tune of $15,000; it was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. “Piss Christ” is Serrano’s primary contribution to Western Civilization: he urinated in a jar with a crucifix in it.
Sotheby’s was a perfect place to auction “Piss Christ.” In 2005, a print garnered $42,000. In 2009, it netted $146,500. Another print went for $50,000 in 2011. The print that was recently auctioned was sold for $185,000. Christie’s sold one for $105,000 in 2000, and in 2011 another went for $314,500.
Brooklyn, NY – The Palisades art gallery held a one-night exhibition, “The Passion of Kim Kardashian.” The collection by artist Hannah Kunkle included 10 photoshopped images of the TV star depicted as various religious figures including Jesus, nuns and the Virgin Mary. In one image Kunkle imposed Kardashian onto a cross with a crown of thorns.
When asked about the exhibition, Kunkle said “religious idols are so beautiful to me, so I wanted to make my own that apply to me. Those images are so powerful it gives power to the idea of worshipping [Kardashian].” A spokesperson for Kardashian denied that the actress had any knowledge of the exhibition.
July 10 – August 23
New York, NY – Bruce LaBruce, a Canadian writer and filmmaker known for his films with gay pornographic themes opened a new art exhibit at The Hole NYC, a private gallery known for its edgy exhibits. The show, titled “Obscenity,” consisted of 22 images featuring a black priest and a white nun, many of the images showing them together in sexual positions, in various stages of undress.
The exhibit will also promote LaBruce’s limited edition perfume by the same name. The cap of the perfume bottle features a naked nun kneeling on a Communion wafer on a man’s tongue. “Putting the body of Christ on the tongue has always had a sexual or sensual connotation” LaBruce said.
August 1 – 31
Los Angeles, CA – The La Luz de Jesus Gallery hosted an exhibition titled “Profanity Pop” by Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros. The exhibit depicts Disney characters mocking traditional Catholic iconography. One image titled “Saint Daisy and her pregnancy” shows Daisy Duck dressed as the Blessed Mother holding a pregnancy test. In another image a character is shown with the Veil of Veronica depicting Mickey Mouse, and a third has Donald Duck prodding the wounds of a pierced Mickey. Other images show Pope Francis presiding over a wedding of two male princes as well as one of Jessica Rabbit receiving Communion.
August 4 – 30
New York, NY – A new play, “Doubtless,” by Albert Innaurato was performed off-Broadway. It would have been easy to ignore—it played at a theatre with 98 seats—if not for Innaurato’s solid credentials as a playwright.
The new play was a rip-off of the John Patrick Shanley play, “Doubt.” That play, which ran between 2004 and 2006, was adapted for the screen, starring Meryl Streep. It featured a controversial priest and a reverent nun (played by Streep). Because there was nothing anti-Catholic about it, we never addressed it. But “Doubtless,” which pointedly attacks “Doubt,” goes out of its way to offend.
The audience was introduced to sexually-romping priests, an Opus Dei orgy, foul-mouthed nuns, sisters who get it on, and a vampire played by Jesus. Though the play was panned by critics, the open-minded folks at the New York Times did so because of its artistic weaknesses, not its bigotry. “Her [a nun’s] vulgar language is fine, really. It’s the rant-ing she’d do better to stop,” said Laura Collins-Hughes.
September 9 – January 9, 2015
Berkeley, CA – Artist Alma Lopez, best known for her 1999 work depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe partially nude, opened an exhibition at the Doug Adams Gallery on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion, a theological school known for its embrace of gay and transgendered persons. In Lopez’ new show, “Queer Santas: Holy Violence” she depicts Catholic saints as gay, lesbian and transgendered.
The female saints appear in her works with beards, buzz cuts, their breasts obscured, and wearing tank tops and jeans. Lopez compares the struggle of the early Catholic martyrs to modern gay people. “I think many of us would refuse to submit to something that we do not believe in, especially when it has something to do with identity. In our community, we do endure so much because we believe in certain things and we know ourselves. So I wanted the Queer Santas to stand for that and start a discussion of how much we endure to be who we are and love who we want to love.”
Justin Tanis, a teacher at the theological school, took particular note of Lopez’ painting of St. Liberata, a 6th century martyr who was crucified for her faith. “All of these saints are women who took their own agency and stepped outside gender norms,” said Tanis. “In that sense they were queer and violence was done to them for it.”
Washington, DC – A new exhibit, “Picturing Mary” opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition offered a reverential treatment of the Blessed Mother, however Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott was not satisfied.
In his Washington Post article, Kennicott blasted the museum for not including Chris Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary” in the exhibit. That piece was unfurled at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999: a portrait of the Virgin Mary was laden with elephant dung. Kennicott calls it “perhaps the most famous image of Mary painted in the last quarter century.”
Kennicott slammed the Washington museum for promoting “the dogmatic tradition of Catholicism rather than its rich, exuberant and open intellectual tradition.” In essence, art is enriched when it defiles Catholicism.
This ad appeared on the op-ed page of the March 3, 2014 edition of the New York Times.