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Colorado town upset over artistic depiction of Jesus Christ

October 1, 2010 |  2:23 pm

Citizens of the Colorado town of Loveland are upset this week over the display of a work of art that they claim shows Jesus Christ involved in an act of oral sex.

Enrique Chagoya's "The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals" is being shown as part of an exhibition at the Loveland Museum/Gallery. According to a report in the Loveland Reporter-Herald, protesters were scheduled to gather Friday morning at the art space to show their opposition to work that they consider obscene.

Chagoya's lithograph, which was created in 2003, is a multi-panel work that shows "comic book characters, religious iconography and imagery, appropriated engravings, Mexican pornography, ethnic stereotypes, Mayan symbols" and more, according to the artist's publisher, Shark's Ink.

The lithograph can be viewed on the Shark's Ink website, but the company has not given permission to reproduce the work online. The company said that the work resembles an accordion folded book that opens to a frieze 90 inches long.

A professor at Stanford University, Chagoya is a widely respected artist whose work is in the public collections of institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Protesters claim that part of Chagoya's creation shows Jesus engaged in an act of fellatio. The city's cultural services director, Susan Ison, has denied the claim, telling the Reporter-Herald that "Jesus is not having oral sex."

A Loveland city councilman who believes the artwork to be pornographic failed earlier this week to put the matter on the council's agenda, according to a report from Denver's ABC-7 News. But Republican Councilman Daryle Klassen has expressed his intention to keep trying.

Chagoya has a history of making politically and socially provocative art. In the past, he has satirized George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice and former California Gov. Pete Wilson. 

You can learn more about the art of Enrique Chagoya in the video above.

-- David Ng

 

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