Lady Gaga may look fashionable in a dress made of meat, but certain images don’t translate well into every medium. Exhibit A: this collection of balloon-sculpture crucifixions at Matthew Paul Turner’s showcase of Christian absurdities, Jesus Needs New PR.
I’m sure glad they included that loincloth – wouldn’t want to risk any phallic symbols here.
I cannot help but wonder what the reaction would be if Moses, Mohammed or the Buddha were depicted this way. I have seen many strange depiction of Jesus as art (i.e., the crucifix in a glass of urine), but I cannot recall any similar artistic depiction of Moses, Mohammed or the Buddha. Perhaps the art critic at the Washington Post, Philip Kennicott, might offer an interesting opinion.
Good question. There does seem to be a double standard in avant-garde art; mockery of Christian symbols is “transgressive” while the same treatment of minority religions could be accused of ethnic bias. Sadly, I believe these balloon Saviors were meant as sincere tributes by Christians whose zeal exceeds their good taste.
A balloon Buddha would be kind of cuddly, though…
I guess the ballon figure of Jesus makes me think that dumping on Christians in 2011 is pretty fair game. And some of them, for obvious reasons, are understandable called out. But I see nothing akin to that in terms of the Lubavitchers, who, from garb to behavior, would seem to be fine fodder for satire and caricature. The same might be said of Muslim women who choose to wear the chador on the streets of Paris. And I have never seen a cartoon depicting Buddhist monks with their bowls make their morning rounds seeking food from their faithful. I don’t want to see any of these things, either, but it strikes me that in 2011, in life as well as art, Christianity is the lavatory where many of the discontented choose to let go, I at time may wish that the Fundamentalist Christians would not say some of the stuff they say but they are not the only Christians being dumped on. Mainstream Protestants appear to still get by unmolested–and maybe the Greek Orthodox as well-but indeed it is open season on the other denominations. And I write this as someone who if he were Jewish probably would be a Lubavitcher rather than Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. Maybe an Islamic Sarah Palin would change the direction of criticism a bit.
Cartoon: A robed Buddhist monk in front of a peasant woman in the marketplace who is stirring a cooking pot: “Spare a few curds for the middle whey?”
Not to defend a double standard, but where Jews or Muslims are concerned, there is the danger that religious satire will slide over into racial/ethnic prejudice against a minority that is already perceived by some as strange and hostile to “mainstream culture” (whatever that is). I agree that too many artists position themselves as avant-garde by taking cheap shots against Christianity. Since I found this photo on the blog of a Christian who often chastises evangelical culture for tasteless and tone-deaf representations of the faith, I concluded that Balloon Jesus was made in a reverent spirit that missed the mark, rather than being an attack by non-Christians.
However, any piece of art, even a lousy one, admits more than one interpretation. I think that was actually the blogger’s point in posting it — to point out that some Christians wear such huge ideological blinkers that they simply cannot perceive competing subtexts in their creations. They intended it to mean THIS, so it means THIS! and nothing else.
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