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Another exhibit draws fire at Brooklyn Museum of Art

NEW YORK (BP)–The publicly funded Brooklyn Museum of Art is under fire again, this time for an exhibit featuring a photograph that portrays Jesus Christ attending the Last Supper as a naked woman, according to CNSNews.com.

The controversial piece is titled “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” and it has enraged New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as well as Catholics.

The Brooklyn Museum is no stranger to controversy. It became the focal point of criticism two years ago for presenting a painting of the Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung as part of its “Sensation” exhibit.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was at the forefront of the attack on the “Sensation” exhibit, and it is again outraged by photographs that “vulgarize Christ,” said Catholic League President William Donohue, who described “Yo Mama’s Last Supper” as “worthy of condemnation.”

Giuliani has taken the issue even further. “I find this disgusting and outrageous. If this were done against other groups in the city, there would be an outcry.” Giuliani had threatened to revoke city funding for the Brooklyn Museum because of the “Sensation” exhibit, but the courts blocked his plan.

Giuliani said he now plans to set up a task force to establish decency standards for institutions that use public money.

Although a spokesperson at the Brooklyn Museum declined to comment on the exhibit, the museum’s website describes it as “cutting-edge images, portraiture, domestic images, street stories, nature, performers, and political issues.”

Another press release defines the exhibit as the “tools of social commentary and artistic exploration, bearing witness to the changes of the world over the last fifty years,” and covers subjects including “the daily lives of people of African-American descent, powerful moments during the struggle for Civil Rights, the history of black musicianship, and the influence of African-American art, literature, and ideals of beauty on society at large.”

All photos on display were approved by a group including museum curator Barbara Millstein. Their criteria included the “standard of printing, originality, social or historical significance, and subject matter.”

The Catholic League believes the depiction of Christ as a naked woman represents a bias against Catholicism and stresses that the photographer involved is no stranger to Catholic bashing. “[Renee Cox] has blamed the Catholic Church for slavery, a scurrilous lie, and has on several occasions used Catholic imagery in ways which are patently offensive,” Donohue said.

Among Cox’s other works, Christ has been portrayed on the cross castrated and dressed as a nun with naked women kneeling before her in prayer.

“Get over it” was Cox’s response to her display in the Brooklyn Museum. “Why can’t a woman be depicted as Christ? Nothing is sacred.”

The latest show also includes a picture of a topless woman on a crucifix.
McKay is a correspondent for CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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  • Jeff McKay