This Wednesday, a truck driver from Montana walked into Loveland Museum/Gallery in Colorado and destroyed a 7.5×90 inch acordion-fold colour print with a crowbar.
The print, titled “The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals” by Mexican artist and Stanford University professor Enrique Chagoya, is a work meant to mix contemporary issues with humour, and shows images such as Jesus engaged in a sex act and an Islamic prophet kneeling before bikini-clad pigs, among other things.
While protests have taken place all week outside the museum/gallery, the last time the piece was on display (in the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver) there was no such reaction.
In an article by the Associated Press, Chayoga defends his work, saying “This is not Christ. It’s a collage. What I’m trying to express is the corruption of the spirtual by the church.”
Loveland city councilman, Daryle Klassen, expressed a wish that an exhibition or print like this come with a warning – like an x-rated movie. I get where he’s coming from (though I’d never argue that the work shouldn’t be shown). While Chayoga clearly has a well defined idea of what he is trying to express, there are inevitably going to people who can’t see past the surface of the art to its meaning and will take it at face value, or simply did not expect to find artwork quite like that at the gallery. Without interpretation or discussion, some potential beneficiaries of the message will never even understand there’s a message there. (Oh emotions, running high..).
The damaged artwork will not be returned to display at the Loveland Museum/Gallery.
Do you think the artwork should be returned, or that it should have had a disclaimer accompanying it?