Weaponizing Jesus, Flowers, Rainbows…
It was never a controversy about skin color for Catholics, despite NCRs disingenuous claim. Nor did it receive a violent response from us. The problem went much, much, deeper.
“First unveiled on NBC’s Today Show in 2000, Janet McKenzie’s painting, Jesus of the People was the first place winner of the National ‘Catholic’ Reporter’s global competition to identify an image of Jesus for the New Millennium.
Janet paints multicultural images which honor gender and race, spotlightighting women and people of color, both of which she notes are under-represented in iconic Christian imagery.
Janet’s dark Jesus reflects both feminine and masculine aspects, which has generated “shouts of praise and threats of death,” notes Susan Perry, the visionary editor and compiler behind the book, Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie(Orbis Books, 2009).
“The book features 29 paintings and accompanying text by writers of different faith traditions including Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B. (author of over 50 books and co-chair of the U.N.’s Global Peace Initiative of Women, author China Galland (author of Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves and Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna.), Sr. Helen Prejean, S.C.J. (author of Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate), and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the American Episcopal Church.”
“Janet has received much more support than vitriol. However, in response to Jesus of the People, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church sent hate mail to Janet as well as to Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and to then-Governor Howard Dean. Westboro threatened to picket outside of McKenzie’s home in Vermont. When a sudden snowstorm prevented them from making the trip, McKenzie suggested, “I guess God provides.”
Fifteen of Janet’s paintings, including the rarely seen Jesus of the People, are currently on exhibit at the The Waitsfield United Church of Christ during the Vermont Festival of the Arts.
Reviewer Gary C. Eckhart notes: “Yes, the paintings have strong religious overtones and indeed, they are displayed in a church. This might not be to your liking; however, set these thoughts aside and view the exhibition for what it is — a collection of contemporary masterpieces by a gifted artist.”
The exhibit, Holiness & the Feminine Spirit … through August 31, 2014.
Meryl Ann Butler (artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor) wrote :
“Thank you for visiting with us, Janet! Vermont seems to support more than its fair share of forward-thinking visionaries, between Bernie Sanders who is well-loved here at OpEdNews, Vermont’s courageous stand regarding GMO labeling, and as home to your stunning art! And by “stunning,” I mean beautiful, but also that you “stun” people with your subject matter.
“Offering a shocking visual experience is a way to direct a viewer’s attention to your message. For instance, when Georgia O’Keeffe was asked why she painted such large flowers, she responded, “A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower – the idea of flowers … Still — in a way — nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time ” So I said to myself — ‘I’ll paint what I see — what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it — I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers:’ Well — I made you take time to look at what I saw.”
So it seems to me that you are capturing the attention of your viewers in a similar vein, although rather than using scale, you are using subject matter.
SH: More on Georgia O’Keeffe.
“Garden of earthly delights“
“Perhaps no artist has invested flowers with as much eroticism as Georgia O’Keeffe“
“By the 20th Century, women artists had begun to depict flowers too – first reservedly, then with abandon. Perhaps no artist has invested flowers with as much eroticism as Georgia O’Keeffe, whose large-scale, almost abstract depictions of blossoms and buds transform petals and leaves into flowing, formalist experiments.
O’Keeffe, subject of a major retrospective this July at Tate Modern in London, resisted the overdetermined reading of her flowers as stand-ins for the female sex organs, and rightly so; her ambitious paintings extend past mere botanical depictions to a modernist engagement with form and colour. Yet feminist artists of the 1970s noted the undeniable eroticism of her flower paintings. Judy Chicago, whose installation The Dinner Party (1974–79) is an explicit tribute to O’Keeffe, proffers more than three dozen place settings for great women in world history, each of whose plates has the vulvar form of an O’Keeffe flower.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers recall female sex organs but also transform the petals and leaves into abstract, formal experiments (Credit: Alamy/Smithsonian National Gallery of Art)
O’Keeffe’s flowers were deeply indebted to photography – above all by the images of her friend Paul Strand, whose photographs of plants exhibit a similar modernist obsession with getting to the essence of life. And photography, as practiced by artists of both sexes, overtook painting as the principal medium to explore the sex life of flowers. Imogen Cunningham’s images of roses and lilies, with their thrusting stigmas and fainting petals, appear as almost indecent carnal synecdoches.” — Source
But we were warned…
New “Progressive” “Jesuses” and “Gospels”
“Be careful that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.” (Mathew 24: 3-5)
St. Paul writes to the Galatian Christians,
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
10 Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.”
And to the Corinthian church,
… The Unnatural Ones Know that Politics Can Never Defeat Family and the Natural Law In the Long Run. (Click)
“I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. “
Matthew 7:21-27: Not everyone who says to me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will tell Me in that day, ‘LORD, LORD, didn’t we prophesy by Your Name, by Your Name cast out demons, and by Your Name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work iniquity.
… The Unnatural Ones Know That Man’s Machinations Can Never Defeat Family and the Natural Law In the Long Run. (Click)