Catholic League president William Donohue sent this letter today to Barbara Millstein, curator of the Brooklyn Museum of Art:
From viewing the book that accompanies the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibition, “Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers,” it is clear that most entries are worthy of much praise. But it is also clear that the display by Renee Cox, “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” is worthy of much condemnation. To vulgarize Christ in this manner is unconscionable. That it was chosen for inclusion in this exhibit is morally indefensible.
Renee Cox is no stranger to Catholic bashing. She has justified her attacks by blaming the Catholic Church for slavery—a scurrilous lie—and has on several occasions used Catholic imagery in ways that are patently offensive. To wit: she has portrayed Christ on the cross castrated; she has appeared half naked as Our Blessed Mother holding a Christ-like figure in her work, “The Pieta”; and she has dressed as a nun with a naked women kneeling before her in prayer.
After the furor over the “Sensation” exhibition, the officials at the Brooklyn Museum of Art must have known that “Yo Mama’s Last Supper” would offend the sensibilities of many New Yorkers. But this seems not to matter. Indeed, you yourself treated criticisms of this display in a manner that was as cavalier as it was coarse (e.g. “There are images of this scene with dogs at the Last Supper”).
I would love to know whether there is any portrayal of any aspect of history that you might personally find so offensive as to be excluded from an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. For starters, would you include a photograph of Jewish slave masters sodomizing their obsequious black slaves? And worry not, when contemplating your answer, just think of it as a work of high artistic merit.
I would appreciate hearing from you about this matter.