"World renowned artist Cosimo Cavallaro unveils his latest and most striking installation at the Lab Gallery (at the Roger Smith Hotel, 47th and Lexington avenue) in the early morning hours of April 1st.
"Cavallaro's work, entitled 'My Sweet Lord,' is a 6 foot tall, anatomically correct sculpture of Jesus Christ in milk chocolate." The Post Chronicle, 28 March 2007, quoting a press release by the Roger Smith Hotel Lab Gallery
In response to the public outcry over the life-sized 6-foot chocolate Jesus, naked and hanging on a cross, during the Catholic (sic) Lent week leading up to Easter, the Roger Smith Hotel has decided to cancel the exhibit. ...
Matt Semler, the gallery's creative director, resigned after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show, reports CNN.
"They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions," said Semler of the public reaction to the exhibit. The Post Chronicle, 30 March 2007, quoting a reversal by the Roger Smith Hotel Lab Gallery management
I don't know what the artist's intentions were, but I'm actually disappointed by the outcry over this work. I can understand the point some have made that a chocolate Jesus trivializes the central figure of Christianity.
On the other hand, a chocolate Jesus wonderfully satirizes the way culture has co-opted religious holidays like Christmas and Easter and obscured their Christian purposes. I don't have a problem with Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies, but they really are not what Easter is about. Easter is the highest of Christian holy days, a poignant reminder of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, the bedrock on which Christianity exists.
Jelly beans and Peeps just don't figure in that story.
In our increasingly secular society, I wonder how many people are clueless about what Easter really is?
A chocolate Jesus on a cross might be the very first Jesus of any sort some New Yorkers have ever seen.
I think we (Christians) missed an opportunity here to talk to the larger world about what Easter means. Even if the artist was hoping to ridicule Christ and the cross, Christ is no stranger to mockery. It seems possible to turn something like this into an opening to discuss what we believe happened on that long-ago terrible Friday, and glorious Sunday.
What do you think?
(Thanks to Relapsed Catholic)