My Sweet Lord

31/03/07 | Posted by MattPage

Artistic images of Jesus are often controversial and Cosimo Cavallaro's latest installation "My Sweet Lord" is proving to be no exception. Having gained notoriety back in 1999 for covering a hotel room in cheese his latest piece is a sculpture of Jesus fashioned in chocolate. The exhibition, in New York's Lab Gallery opens this Sunday, just a week before Easter.

image
 My Sweet Lord

The timing of the exhibition has already caused some religious groups to raise objections. Bill Donohue from the Catholic League called it “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever”.

Incredibly the gallery has claimed that the timing of this exhibition is just a coincidence. It’s unfortunate because the timing of this exhibition gives the piece real power. Easter, a festival previously associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection has been largely overtaken by the chocolate industry. Seeing this sculpture at this time of year gives it a real edge.

Not that it was lacking in meaning anyway. A chocolate Jesus touches on the way chocolate has become so prevalent in our culture at the same time as Jesus is being moved to the sidelines. It also refers to the Lord’s Supper. Back in the first century, Jesus compared his body to a piece of bread. But given the prominence of chocolate in our diets, it’s not beyond belief that were he to make the comparison today he might opt for chocolate instead. Whilst many Christians might find the idea offensive, I don’t think it’s intended to be, it’s simply pointing out how Jesus expressed ideas in ways that were relevant to the people. It’s perhaps also meant as a criticism of our increasingly unhealthy diets.

The other thing to cause a stir is that the Jesus of this sculpture is completely naked. Traditionally Christian art has sought to sanitise the image of the crucifixion, by having Jesus wear a loincloth. Yet it is more than likely that Jesus was crucified naked. This was the Romans’ custom. It increased added shame and degradation to the agony of the execution. If the nudity aspect is offensive at all, it is because this is how thousands of people (including Jesus) spent their final moments.

Disappointingly, it appears the critics of this sculpture have reacted to it without taking the time to understand what the artist is trying to explore. This is a serious piece of work, intended to challenge its viewers rather than mock their beliefs as some have suggested. As yet another Easter threatens to be overshadowed by the chocolate industry critic’s of this work should perhaps be glad that this sculpture is pointing back to the true meaning of Easter.

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...oh, I love it so much…
My Sweet LORD - I want to kiss you all your hole holy body, oh…

#1. By Harry Reuss on October 14, 2011

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