May 27, 2001
Subject: la times today
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 08:23:57 EDT
To: email@example.comTo the Artist:
Having read a number of articles on your interpretation
of the traditional Our Lady of Guadalupe, I "knew" your work was
trashy, etc. Having actually now viewed your piece of art, I am using my time
to share with you my response, assuming this type of feedback to be of some
help to you during the now resolved crisis in Santa Fe (i.e. the decision
made this past week to continue to show your work this year - giving me plenty
of time now to see it in person!)
1. My relevant personal background: raised Catholic,
caucasion and non- gay/lesbian (adding this only because of the reference
to this in so many places as being relevant the art work mentioned here)
2. I have absolutely believed in and loved the story and traditional representations of Our Lady of Guadalupe since I was a teenager in North Carolina. Such depictions have always included beautiful red roses .
3. Your work of art depicts a beautifully real
woman. In her you have created a visual and external representation of who
I am: a woman who can choose to surround herself with beauty and goodness
both internally and externally. Your work shows you already know this. I believe
those who see something less worthy in this art piece are looking at the same
picture as I while actually seeing something within themselves.
Thanks to the LA Times for this article and
to you for adding to the traditional depiction of a female/feminine ideal
as good,caring and gentle by showing us also what sensual components make
for a more complete representation of a woman.
Subject: Get Noticed
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 06:38:44 -0700
From: Christopher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I think you have come up with a clever way to
get noticed. A great way to put your self on the map. I have to admit, I am
a little jealous I did not think of it. The Irony is your piece has a way
of invoking a kind of exploitation of God as well as women. Maybe this is
piece gives a still male dominated sex inhibited society a new way to look
at its gender based exploitation.
What's next... Jesus in a G-string.
Los Angeles, CA
Subject: Congratulations from Randy Pesqueira
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 11:20:20 EDT
Greetings Guerilla Girl, it has been too long.
I am very proud of your work and was excited to see that you have inspired
all of this dialogue. I just read Gurza's piece on you in the Calendar section,
thanks for the publishing the web address, I had lost your phone number and
was just figuring out how I could get ahold of you. I want a copy of your
It's weird to hear the press and the critics
describe you and your work - I am sorry you are in the position of having
to defend it - but I know where your heart is, and your respect for the image
of the Virgin, and I know you just meant to create good artwork. I love her
attitude! and YOURS of course.
Imagine the old men of the Catholic Church thinking
they have the right to dictate anything about imagery or censorship, look
at what they've done over the centuries beginning with the Spanish Inquisition,
not to mention the destruction of the history of Mexico.
If you need help on anything, let me know. Are you planning any exhibitions soon?
Subject: Your Virgen de Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:23:48 -0700
From: milena <email@example.com>
I am a Latina woman who feels proud to see another
woman standing for her right of free expression. Your Virgen de Gudalupe is
a beautiful art expression with a strong message about women and their right
to be proud of our bodies and to do with them as we please. I wish more women
will have the courage to express themselves as you have done. Congratulations!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:26:29 -0700
From: "thomas impelluso" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First, let me say that you should put up a picture of Bernini's Ecstacy of St. Theresa... In fact... why not? I mean, here is a sculpture of St Theresa, in what looks like an orgasm, being pierced by the staff of a male angel. Take that image, dress it up, make the angel black, make St. Theresa asian, make the staff.. well... I better stop.
Let me say this...
I was once gay. I remember going into bathouses and while they played Madonna's "Like a Prayer", would engage in these huge orgies... that was, what, 10 years ago...
I have since mellowed... the eroticism now comes out in spirituality.
Being with men, has helped me love men for their strength and weaknesses.
(I, first, thank God, I never got a disease from all that).
Today, I see my eroticism and spirtuality, fuse and harmonize. It is a gift I give my wife, the woman I love.
I am grateful that artists like you are in this world... doing the spiritual work of Bernini and Michelangelo...
Keep it up!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:30:06 -0700
From: "thomas impelluso" <email@example.com>
I also think you will gain more by emphasizing
the words of the good men who support you, and neglecting the idiot men who
do not support you.
Men have been wounded too...
Subject: Total and complete support!!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 15:01:43 EDT
Just wanted to voice my support for you in this
time. I am a transaplanted Angeleno living in New Mexico and have seen all
the coverage on the news. I encourage and support your artistic expression
as well as all free speech issues. Wish you luck in the future!!!
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: Our Lady
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 15:43:21 EDT
Dear Ms. Lopez --
I saw the article regarding your work and the
controversy in New Mexico in today's LA Times. (Which in turn brought
me to your website where I could view the art in question a bit better.)
First, the image is powerful, wonderful. I
hope to travel to New Mexico to view the exhibit by the end of June. I've
sent off emails to MOIFA protesting the it's early closure.
Secondly, the censorship and heavy-handed methods
used to coerce compliance are abhorrent.
Best wishes for success,
--Shaunna Kelley-Zavala, writer
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:06:42 EDT
Thanks for fighting the good fight for all of us who believe in free expression. You have more support than you know. I will be letting these folks know how I feel about their efforts to deny you your rights, which were paid for with the blood of our fathers and mothers. dan
Subject: our lady uproar
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:35:49 EDT
Though I am a former Catholic, I still have
strong, positive feelings for the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The
fact that she is traditionally represented as an indigenous woman has offered
great emotional sustenance to a people invaded, raped and enslaved by the
Spaniards. That being said, I am also a writer who believes strongly
in the freedom of expression.
Personally, on an artistic level, I appreciate
and understand your image of the Virgin. I think the work offers a positive,
modern and provocative representation that we, as Mexicans, might take for
granted because she has been an omnipresent image in our homes, schools and
other places in our communities. One of the roles of the artist is to
offer a new way of looking at things that we no longer see. I applaud
your work and I am happy that Agustin Gurza featured you in his L. A. Times
Daniel A. Olivas
Web Page: http://www.homestead.com/DanielOlivas/olivas.html
Subject: Vigin of Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 13:37:21 -0700
From: "vipat3" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The depiction you created in your Virgin of Guadalupe says more about you, your emotions & feelings than it does about the Lady who appeared to Juan Diego.
Media print describes you as a feminist artist wanting to show the sacred embracing the secular. But, didn't Mary do just that, didn't she embrace the world when she consented to bear the son of God? Certainly Our Lady is strong - - that's no doubt why God counted on her courage and strength, inner & outer, and her love for Him to say yes to His call. She was prepared with the grace of God to deal with her spouse to be, her family, her friends and the culture she knew. God had a purpose and this was foremost to Mary.
In 1531, I think that was the year, she appeared (by the grace of God) and spoke to Juan Diego; she had a message and most importantly she chose the clothes, the colors, and the image of herself that she wanted on Juan's cape. Shouldn't her preferences count? I believe, Alma, that Our Lady cares about you and loves you very much as she did Juan - - and cares about all God's children.
Perhaps, Alma, just perhaps, you may wish to talk more to Our Lady in your quiet time and develop your relationship even more. In all her earth apparitions, she has embraced God's children; at Fatima almost 400 years later, she appeared with Jesus and even St. Joseph in one apparition. Her message and heart are always fixed on God and eternal life.
Mission Viejo, California
Subject: you go girl!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 13:38:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D. Magallon" <email@example.com>
We are constantly being told to conform. Well,
fine. Let's conform to the Constitution. That precious document which let's
us express ourselves. Those wonderful tennets outlining how there is a separation
between church and state. Was this not done so that we may flee religious
persecution? Are we not allowed to dissent with other religious views? Was
the founding of this country not implicit on the church NOT telling us what
Yes, while viewing your piece I had a discussion
with my madre. She doesn't like it, but neither can she articulate why that
is. Stubborn tradition is good for what it's worth. It is beginning to interfere
with our reasoning abilities. She won't take communion from any server who
isn't the priest. She cannot articulate her reasons beihnd this one either.
Irrationality, or fear of breaking with tradition?
It is up to us, Latinos in the US, to create
the path our heritage will take. Embrace the old, yes, but educate them whence
we can. Please do not capitulate to the most rabid of our people. Some of
us still use reasoning and logic as the basis for our thinking. I guess its
just up to us to ensure that the others are at least exposed to it.
Subject: Virgiiiin Mary
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:01:23 -0500
From: cbayless <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have to agree with you totally, Alma. And I really can't digest an "immaculate conception"
Subject: The painting
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:05:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: email@example.com (Dana Garland)
I am not Catholic so I am not into The Madonna,
but I think that it is awful that you would belittle a person's religion,
and try to justify it with such a lame excuse. I am most offended though because
I am female, and am so tired of women exploited themselves, it's bad enough
that the world treats us as a sexual toy, and then there are women like you
and your model degrading us even more. (to the model) I am very sorry you
were raped and your mother did not understand, that no matter want, it was
not your fault that an immoral moron took advantage of you, but you should
get more therapy before you try to help other females, so you could stop tyring
to get even with your mother and learn to forgive her ignorance of the facts.
The both of you are only doing more to perpetuate the fact that we are nothing
more then a piece of meat. Why can't a strong woman have clothes on? There
is no shame in the human body, male or female because God made us all. Adam
and Eve lost that right in the Garden of Eden, to run around naked when sin
came into the world and God covered them.
If you have REAL TALENT paint something different
and use your GOD given talent in the right way, without mocking someone's
religious beliefs or degrading females. Please both of you seek God and stop
trying to justify immorality.
Have a blessed day
Subject: "Our Lady" or "Your
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:27:54 -0500
From: "Michael Rossa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You do not need to title your work "Our
Lady" because it is not our lady; it is your lady. It is your sick little
eogcentric trip of a perception you have. You did it just to be different
and an iconoclast. I hope you're prepared to meet the Blessed Virgin's son
at the end of your life. Truth is, you probably will sooner than you think.
I am a woman and find your porn angel disgusting. You are not what I consider to
be an artist or woman who speaks for other women or hispanics in
this country. It is rather self-interest and sensationalism you seek. You instead
degrade the two groups. This so-called art you have created should me titled
"My Lady" because she (or whatever it is) in no way belongs to anyone
other than you! I believe you to be santanic in spirit.
Debra A. Rossa
A Catholic and former resident of New Mexico
Subject: Your imaging of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:59:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Un Brujito <DoctorTenorio@go.com>
If you call your rendition of the Virgin of
Guadalupe art, then all I can say to you and about you is that you are one
You certainly have a complete lack of imagination.
Subject: "Our Lady" by Alma Lopez
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:49:39 -0700
From: "Jerry Olson" <Jolson@socal.rr.com>
I read the L.A.Times article on your work in the Calendar section of that paper today and must say, I admire the stand you have taken for your art and for freedom of artistic expression. I'm happy that you gave us an update. My Lady of Guadalupe, in tile, on my balcony, needs to be brought into the 21st century. It also needs some repair; it's falling apart. I'd gladly replace it with your rendition. I thought you work tasteful yet at the same time, reflects what you want it to reflect, e.g., a moving away from a hang-down head to a perky stance that says: I'm a real woman, I'm alive and I'm comfortable with being a 21st century Mexican woman or woman of Mexican extraction. Keep up the good work. AVE OUR LADY.
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:49:35 -0400
From: "Gerald Lundy" <email@example.com>
I think your painting is provocative and beautiful.
makes me look at mary as a person, not an icon.
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:38:50 -0400
From: Marcia E Warmkessel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 12 says
"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful".
Verse 15 goes on to say, "Do you not know that your bodies are members
of Christ? Human bodies are beautiful; God created them that way. He created
one man and one woman to enjoy each other fully in the safe boundaries of
a covenant relationship called "marriage". Our bodies are not meant
to be shown to all.
So why do so many artists wish to interpret
Jesus, Mary, and others in sexually-explicit ways? (and then claim that it
is not sexually-explicit) This is not a freedom of expression issue; this
is not a cultural rights issue. It is simply offensive to depict God's beautiful
creations in such a way. You and I are all created in His image. Why do we
need to defile and exploit what He made so wonderful?
It may be lawful, but it is not helpful to hurt
or enrage those who take the sanctity of God's Word or His people seriously.
Furthermore, there is nothing powerful about a naked woman of any culture
being shown off like a prize. It is demeaning and devalues the truth of what
God created all women to be. You can hide it under the title of "art"
or under the title of "rights of expression". But let's face it.
It is shock value and attention-seeking. To this the Word says, "Pride
goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be
of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud"
God made so many talented artists of various
media whose work was meant to be enjoyed. Rejoice in your talent. Please neither
hurt others or offend God with the gifts which He has blessed you.
Subject: Too casual?
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:47:11 -0500
From: "John C. King" <email@example.com>
I wonder if some people are put off because
the woman in your figure looks too casual, with her hands on her hips and
one hip to the side.
John C. King
Subject: Distasteul art.
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 00:27:10 -0300
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Harvey Lord)
What I see you as doing is making fun of my religion. You are mocking one of our most religious figures in an effort to draw attention to yourself. You care not for the feelings or religions of others. Because of your refusal to remove this picture, I refuse to knowling go any place your work might be on display and encourage my people to do likewise.
Subject: Hi there!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: joseph melendrez <email@example.com>
To: Alma Lopez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I bet your stressed out, huh? Your situation
is kind of funny, though. Well, maybe not funny to you. I doubt if you hurt
Mary's feelings. Being the Queen of Heaven, she is above it all. Way above
it. She no doubt loves you more than ever. God works in strange ways so this
might have something to do with your salvation.
I read the Calender article and your statement.
It occurred to me that you and Mary will be forever linked together and there
is nothing you can do about it. That may or not please you, but I think that
it is a good position in which to be.
The ironic thing is that the very thing that
you accuse Mary of being is her greatest strenght. Rather than being a strong
woman, she chose to be humble. She knew that when we are at our weakest, God
is at his strongest. And the sin the God loaths more than the others is pride.
At the first scent of pride, God disappears and is no longer in our presence.
God chose Mary to be his spouse because of her humility. It drew him to her.
He found it irresistable. In her humility, she was made the Queen of Heaven
and Earth. And she plays a huge role in the salvation of the world. She is
also known as the Queen of Mercies. While her son dispenses justice to the
world, she dispenses mercy and graces. Mary is both the mother of Jesus and
our mother. When we pray to Mary, she in turn takes our prayers to her son
and pleads our case. Since Mary is the perfect mother and Jesus is the perfect
son, he cannot say no to his mother. (Unless it is not in our best interest).
Only she knows what pleases him and how to win over him over. The reason Mary
appears the way she does or how she appeared on Juan Diego's tunic is because
she wants us to be humble. She is our role model. And humble is how God wants
us to be because then he can be with us and in us. Jesus' promise to us is
to be in paradise. Paradise for God is to be in a pure
I hope this answers any questions you might
have in regards to the Virgin Mary.
Subject: regarding your art work
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 23:15:25 -0600
From: "." <email@example.com>
I think it's beautiful, I don't understand what
people have a problem with. For years the female body and breast have
been shown in movies with an abundance and without any cloths. I think
this is a very tasteful work of art, maybe people have a problem because a
female artist created the picture and not a man; considering this world
is full of double standards when it comes to male and female behavior and/or
actions. Keep your chin up and keep creating art work as beautiful as
Subject: wanting to purchase
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:33:24 -0700
From: QUINONES_MARGARET <QUINONES_MARGARET@smc.edu>
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
Hola Alma: Keep up the great work. You have
my support. I am very proud of your work. How can I purchase your work do
you have a list and a price list. I went through your web site I only found
a price for your t shirt thanks
Subject: Desde Guadalupe (España)
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:57:01 +0200
From: "Antonio Picon Romero" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is from a Spanish surfer. I don't understand this mess about a masterpiece. Do those who claim against your work know how the Virgin Mary looked like? I think she was an hebrew woman (dark skin of course) conscious of her body and who had to nurse her son (with breasts, I imagine).
This is to encourage you to keep going ahead.
Don't feel afraid of expressing your vision. The truth is Amercia is importing
the worst aspects of Europe: Religous intolerance and religious attempts
of controling social life.
Go ahead and forget those in possession of absolute truth (as the nazis also thought of themselves).
Animo y sigue adelante !
Subject: relevant and beautiful
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:42:52 -0700
From: "S. Sligh" <email@example.com>
I must say that I am grateful for the controversy
that surrounds this piece for one largely selfish reason; were it not for
the protests that have been raised I would likely never have seen your work.
As a (non-Latino) white male, I am touched by this piece not only because
I find it beautiful, but also by what it teaches me about the experience of
the artist. This insight and sharing between people and across cultures
seem to me to be of vital importance (maybe now more than ever.) I truly
believe that art, and very often that art which breaks from tradition or rules
most of all, has the power to teach, heal, connect, and potentially elevate
us as individuals and as people in a way that would not otherwise be possible.
I am grateful that you are so willing and determined to share your artistic vision and your voice, most especially when there are, sadly, so many unable/unwilling to hear. I wish you the best with this, and future endeavors.
San Diego, CA