art

Christ is Pissed, Again

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Commenting to Fox News, Staten Island Representative Michael Grimm has called the work a “deplorable piece,” one that is as “offensive” to Christians as ‘Innocence of Muslims’ is to “the Islamic world.” Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the comparison has provided opportunity to emphasize the supposed moral high ground that Christians occupy over Muslims when it comes to material deemed offensive or blasphemous. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Council, told Fox News that the two incidents shore up “the contrast between Islam and Christianity.” “You don’t have to plead with Christians not to riot and burn and storm buildings simply because they are offended,” Perkins said. “That’s the difference. That’s why Christianity moves nations forward and Islam moves nation backwards.”

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Looking at Death: Images of 9/11, Before, During, and After

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What might it mean for a synagogue, a church, a mosque, or a temple, to set up a video screen in its sanctuary and play these images of death from September 11—and then turn around and respond to them? What reinvented rituals might result from a ritualized, contextualized reception of these images? Such communal framing gets us beyond the questions of morbid voyeurism because it eliminates the one-way dimension and places images within a social setting. It further allows us to reflect and come to terms with dying, thereby stirring the potential for a good death. 

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Cozy Cottage or House on Fire? Thomas Kinkade’s Theo-Aesthetic Legacy

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Kinkade challenged the high-brow haughtiness of the art world, grew rich in the process, and seemed to fumble around, rock-star like, with drinking and bad behavior. Liberals scoffed at the hypocrisy of yet another social-religious conservative who can’t live up to a decent set of moral standards, while his mass-produced images were hugely loved, especially by evangelical Christians who felt that here, finally, was an artist for them. He called himself the “Painter of Light” and then trademarked the phrase. He includes a Christian fish (icthus) above his signature—but he’s also alleged to have urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure at Disneyland, among other socially unacceptable activities.  

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Papal Profanity: The Vatican’s Pagan Museum

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When the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II, a Dutch pope (Adrian VI), came to Rome for the first time. The cardinals proudly gave him a tour of the Belvedere. He was shocked and outraged, informing them (in Latin no less) that “these are nothing but pagan idols!” He threatened to sell off the whole collection, and in the interim built cabinets for them, locked the doors, and kept the key to himself. 

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