Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 10:21:48 +0100 (BST)
From: Greg Michaelson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com, TMNunn@moifa.org
I and my partner visited your museum during
a trip to New Mexico from Scotland in March. I was very impressed by the Girard
collection. I was also very impressed by the CyberArte exhibition, particularly
the artists' skills in using new media to express classic artistic and ideological
I think that its very important that a museum
commited to folk art should exhibit contemporary work, especially where it
challenges normative ideas.
Doubtless, many of the items that Girard collected
were shocking, especially to those from a traditional western Christian tradition
for whom representations of death and sex were taboo outside of art galleries.
In particular, the Girard collection has many representations of what traditional
Christian would call false idols. Of course, for non-Christians, Christian
representations are shocking and unacceptable in turn, and Spanish Catholicism
in the "New World" was careful to integrate "pagan" practises
into Christianity. Thus, the CyberArte exhibition, in particular Alma Lopez's
splendid reflection on Our Lady of Guadaloupe, is an important contribution
to a controversy which is as old as religion itself.
Thank you for a thought provoking experience.
I also very much appreciated the friendliness and professionalism of your
Subject: Cyber Arte Exhibition
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 15:03:34 EDT
To: Alma Lopez - copy for your info.
We urge you to resist the efforts of a small
group of religious conservatives to have Alma Lopez's work removed from the
Cyber Arte exhibit.
Art should not be judged by its popularity or
by whether it pleases or displeases a particular group, no matter how vocal.
The removal of the Lopez picture would be an act of censorship and a capitulation
to narrow religious interests. It would irreparably damage the reputation
of the museum and be an affront to those of us who believe that no religious
group or governmental entity has the right to censor art.
The argument for retaining the picture was well
stated in a recent letter in Pasatiempo: "Alma Lopez's version of Mary
is art in that it reflects a part of a culture that won't be denied. As such
it has value. That's why the curators of the Cyber Arte exhibit at the Museum
of International Folk Art hung it in the first place. That's why it needs
to stay there."
Lois & Marty Snyderman
Santa Fe, NM
cc: Dr. Joyce Ice, Ph.D.
Dr. Tey Marianna Nunn
Dr. Edson Way
Subject: Our Lady
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 13:05:02 -0700
From: taylo048 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to send you a short note in support
of your recent exhibit of Cyber Arte, especially "Our Lady," at
the MOIFA in New Mexico. I found this particular piece to be not only very
creative, but that it sent a powerful and important message regarding the
strength of Chicano women and the importance of religion in their lives. In
no way did I find the piece offensive. It is sad that so many people are unable
to look outside their "box" and see what the world and its residents
have to offer. Once again, I really enjoyed your arte and congratulations
on a great exhibit.
Calif. State Univ. San Marcos
Visual Arts 323
"Chicano Art in the Border Region"
Subject: Santa Fe Exhibit
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 17:05:42 EDT
Please accept my vote of support for your right to express yourself through your art.
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 17:49:32 EDT
Dear Ms. Lopez:
I enjoyed seeing your Virgin Mary in the museum
very much. I feel that it might help if you issued a written statement
explaining your point of view.
Perhaps, at the end of such a statement you
could call for pride in tolerance of diversity, instead of a feeling of victimhood
for an insult which you did not intend. If you sent it to the New Mexican
and the Archbishop, asking that it be read and posted in all churches, it
might make some people feel better.
I feel we should make it a little easier for
the museum to keep your picture hanging. I think that were it not for the
threat of the ACLU, they would be glad to have the conflict go away.
I hope to see your website next month.
My best wishes,
Jack Frenkel <email@example.com>
Subject: "our lady"
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 17:55:36 EDT
CC: TMNunn@moifa.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 16, 2001
Dear Alma Lopez,
I support your digital image titled "Our
Lady" which is exhibited at the Museum of International Folk Art. Even
though I have not seen it in person, I enjoyed it. I saw it as a symbol of
strength to empower the young women of our generation.
Your image gives me strength. I feel that growing
up with Mexican traditions, I was taught to have smaller goals in life because
I am a woman.
I was raised to view the world through my future
husband's eyes. That all the skills I acquired were to benefit my husband
and not myself. Therefore my parents didn't encourage me to aspire high goals
in life. My enrollment in college was optional. This image changes all the
oppressive traditions that
I was blindly led to believe. With viewing your
image I was able to put words together that expressed how I felt when I lived
with my parents.
I view your image as a tool to enlighten our
culture. Even though the image has minimal clothing, I don't view it as sexual.
Sex has nothing to do with this work. I feel opponents of the piece see it
as sexual because of the continuos portrayal women as dirty and shameful through
the media. She is simply wearing clothing of our time. I feel that her apparel
and her mannerisms have made her a current lady. With this in mind, the viewer
feels that "Our Lady" is someone that she can relate to.
The butterfly angel is not sexual either. I
see it as a symbol of motherhood. It reinforces my idea that I don't have
to choose between a career or having my own family. I am able to have both.
I was told that motherhood and a career would never mix. Times have changed.
Our children need mothers that are educated.
I hope more women can see your piece and be
enlightened the way I have.
Student at CSU of San Marcos
Subject: Hope all is well
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 18:35:53 -0700
From: anita quintana <email@example.com>
To: Alma Lopez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
How are you doing. I have been thinking of you
alot lately and hope that this fanatical reaction to your piece has not effected
you too much in LA. It is a shame that some Catholic Hispanics of Spanish
decent in the Northern part of NM continue to persecute. The most horrific
thing about all of this to me is that a very large percentage of the opponents
at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday were from the church I was raised
in!!!XXX!!! That behavior was NOT what I learned! I'm sorry you have to experience
this and also I thank you for stirring them up.
Changes don't happen without someone rocking
Anyway I want to let you know I support you.
The following was my 3 minute speech in support
of keeping your piece up:
My name is Anita Quintana. (I think I said I
was from Northern NM but a had a short burst of stage fright! So I really
don't remember) I am a Graphic Designer and Artist. And was the graphic designer
for Cyber Arte.
It is no surprise to me that some members of
the Catholic community of Northern New Mexico have reacted so passionately
to the piece of art entitled "Our Lady" at the Museum. For the Catholic
community she has symbolized Christianity and its teachings, so her image,
as a symbol, is representative of something sacred to many people.
It is the symbolic meaning of her image that
is sacred, not the image itself.
Icons, statues, and images have symbolic meaning.
They are reminders of a belief or ideal. They are not the belief itself. The
belief is within us not outside of us in an object.
Alma Lopez' piece entitled "Our Lady,"
in my opinion does not undermine the symbolic meaning of the image, it is
a representation or interpretation of her personal relationship to La Senora.
It stems from the same interpretations of the teachings that many of you here
today opposing it were raised with.
So why has this piece of art elicited such passionate
reactions? Has the meaning become second chair to the image? Is it because
some still see women as possessions? As objects to be owned? Is it because
some are actually claiming ownership of La Guadalupe?
This is a piece of art we are talking about.
Not blasphemy. Not the quote, unquote devils work. It is an image not a belief.
Not a possession. We cannot in this day and age allow art to be determined
by religious organizations. Nor can we allow our beliefs to be only as deep
as an icon. We need to uphold our right to freedom of speech. If we be believe
in the love and compassion that La Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe represents
then we need to treat each other with that love and compassion and not be
judgmental of how she appears to us.
We have a unique opportunity today to work together
to understand each other. To be mindful of our evolving world. To accept differences.
To create a healthy community. We, as a people, regardless of our nationality,
religious choices, political party, sexual preference, whether we are male
or female need to evolve and work TOGETHER to create a healthy world. We are
an evolving organism. Why stunt our own growth by allowing different ideas
of the same beliefs to divide us? We CANNOT continue to separate, isolate,
judge, and discriminate. We can in this day and age allow each other freedom
of expression. It is ok to express our feelings and it is ok to create art
in any way we feel we need to.
We CANNOT control each others actions or expressions,
only our own. We CAN accept differences and still maintain our beliefs.
Subject: The Virgen
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 21:59:58 EDT
Again, I am e-mailing you and pleading with
you to PLEASE take the 'digital photograph' back to California!
A true Catholic does not offend, you have injured
a whole community seriously.
We can only go so far as tempting it's removal,
the cry of the people is reaching the very throne of heaven and asking for
PLEASE TAKE IT WITH YOU. YOUR SELFISHNESS IS
Subject: La Virgen
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 19:30:38 -0700
From: "lopez juan" <email@example.com>
Ms. Lopez, I wanted to send you a copy of the
letter I sent to Mr. Villegas. I met Mr. Villegas in Santa Fe while
I was student at the College of Santa Fe. I want you to know that I
support your work and believe that you have a right to show it.
Please hang in there, we need women like you to be role models for our young
Jose, I was astounded by your defense of the Catholic Church. I wonder what your feelings are as you worship at the Cathedral in Santa Fe and as you pass by the statue of Bishop Lamy. Bishop Lamy was a racist, having called your people (New Mexicans) infidels. I wonder what your feelings are when you attend a religious service being led by a man (priest) who does not want to include women as contemporaries. I wonder what your feelings are for the Church who has a history of treating our women as second class citizens. I wonder what your feelings are on worshiping in a church which has a history of supporting colonization and of genocide. I wonder why you would not condem and try to change the very church you are supporting. Why don't you speak against the above mentioned topics. I wonder what you will say to me. I wonder what will happen when the very sacred right of freedom of speech is taken away from you. The very same freedom that you would like to take away from Alma. Por favor, lets begin to talk about the very issues you are so quickly to condem.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I lived in Santa Fe for three years, and I remember you as a man who stood up when others did not want to. I remember you being a man to speak for others who were afraid or who were intimidated.
I value your right to free speech, lets not condem others who express themselves through art.