June 14, 2001

> From: egarcia [SMTP:egarcia@tvi.cc.nm.us]
> Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2001 11:09 AM
> To: tmnunn@moifa.org
> Subject: Guadalupe
> Dear Dr. Nunn,
> I teach a course on Southwest art at TVI Community College. I want to
> share a letter I sent to the Albuquerque Journal regarding the issue of
> Alma Lopez' collage. I want you to know that you have support from many
> in the community. I would be pleased if you wished to share it with your
> colleagues at moifa. Here is my letter.
> Ernest Garcia
> Albuquerque, NM
> Letters to the Journal
> P.O. Drawer J
> Albuquerque, NM 87103
> June 14, 2001
> Subject: Letters to the Journal
> When I saw Alma Lopez' art work in the Cyberarte exhibition last Spring,
> I was bemused at her sardonic take on the old legend of Guadalupe. I was
> not moved by it however. It was technically accomplished and clever with
> its superimposition of Aztec carved stone texture as part of the
> background. Lopez' contemporary female figure clad in what resembles a
> floral bathing suit is in the modern Pop Art tradition that attempts to
> bring art in line with the reality of its own times by using material
> from contemporary life and commercial culture.
> She is a contemporary artist who I believe wanted to demystify the image
> of a very mysterious figure, the Lady of Guadalupe. It is in the
> tradition of the modern world we live in to demystify the mysterious, to
> illuminate the obscure. Conversely it is in the tradition of the Middle
> Ages to evoke mystery, to obscure misunderstood reality with occult
> explanations. Our medieval forebears had no choice. Their culture was
> unable to provide answers other than those of religion. We however, do
> not have that excuse. We are ultimately responsible for rationally
> understanding our own history and acting on our natural and manmade
> environments.
> It saddens me that, as a man who is looked to for leadership by so many,
> Archbishop Sheehan missed the opportunity to enlighten his people. He
> could have taught them that a graven image is only an image. He could
> have taught them that the Lady of Guadalupe is really about truths of
> human compassion that are more real than a mere image painted on rough
> cloth. Instead, the shepherd followed his panicked flock over the
> nearest cliff of ignorance and superstition. His Excellency appears to
> have pandered to religious and ethnic paranoia and partisanship instead
> of adhering to his duty as a guide to spiritual enlightenment. How sad
> that is.
> As a modern New Mexican Hispanic, I feel admiration and respect for the
> many generations that preceded me. Our native Hispano-Catholic culture
> was and is an adaptation to the rigors and demands of history. I love
> and admire my deceased parents and grandparents for their faith and
> courage and the gift of love they bestowed on us. Yet I cannot share the
> sense of hurt and disdain they would have felt at the sight of Alma
> Lopez' Lady of Guadalupe. Instead I must exercise understanding and
> responsibility for the inherent contradictions in myself and the world
> we all live in.
> It seems to me that modern Catholics would do better to plumb the depths
> of truth that lay at the heart of their faith, instead of the chimera of
> imagery invented by our predecessors.
> Ernest Garcia



Subject: Re: comentary on alma lopez' "virgin"
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 10:38:39 EDT
From: XColumn@aol.com
To: info@sergiozenteno.com, XColumn@aol.com, almalopez@earthlink.net

We all make statements in life virtually everyday. If the artists made their statement, you don't have to accept it... at the same time, people don't have to attend the show, or buy the art, etc. who are we to judge?

What disturbs me more than the art is the response to it... I may or may not like the art, but I respect their right to create it... the response on the other hand is right out of the inquisitin and the middle ages... more thoughtful responses are in order... I'm sure they probably diosagree with some or all of your observations, but I can guarantee you they don't mind the civil nature of your observations... thanks for your opinion

Roberto Rodriguez


Subject: [AztlanNet: ARTS|LETTERS] Sacred Images: NM CyberCircus
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:08:13 EDT
From: RR2001RR@aol.com
Reply-To: AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com
To: romesedeno@yahoo.com, AztlanNet@yahoogroups.com

In regards to the Virgen de Guadalupe debate:

This is in response to Pedro Romero... this is his quote: "To me, the whole commotion reinforces the racist stereotype that us Hispanic/Chicanos,etc, are "just a bunch of stupid Mexicans."

He then respnds, not directly addressing my comments regarding the above quote... I believe that much Raza in this country have this viciousness about them about not wanting to be confused for "stupid Mexicans from south of the border."

Here's his response to me: Roberto Rodriguez wrote: ... but again, I do respect all things sacred...

Question: Is the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe groping La Sirena's T & A sacred? Is the image respect-able?

MY RESPONSE: My comment was that I respect all things sacred... thus, in this instance, the answer is self-evident... I don't consider that image sacred... nor do I actually like that image... but that isn't what this debate is about, is it? The debate is about the image of Raquel who is rose-clad.

Something interesting for me is that (I could be mistaken) but isn't there a comandment about not creating images of God? By inference, I would think that would apply to the Mother of God and all the saints... yet, there's hundreds and hundreds of images in the Cathiolic church (as well as most religions) that seem to contradict this edict. It seems that it is a wise edict because what is sacred to one person may not be sacred to the next... whuich could lead to desecration, etc.

Pedro's continued response: AS per what is Mejicano, the dominant culture of this country is much ignorant about what is Mexican, even New Mexican ( many think New Mexico is not part of the U.S. even).

RR's RESPONSE: That is not the issue here... I raised the issue of creating a huge distance between Chicanos/Mexican Americans (or Hispanos in NM) and Mexicanos... and you know full well the truth about the huge hatred that many people of NM have towards Mexicanos...

Pedro: Even a most significant cultural icon of what is Mejicano, i.e. la Guadalupana image, is ignorantly dismissed as trivial, a commodity, and little understood.

RR'S RESPONSE: This is kind of like the division between church/state. Being Mexicano is not synonymous with being a Guadalupano. Besides, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the continent, not just Mexicanos...

Commandeering this image to give relevance to one's own political agenda, as Alma Lopez has done, trivializes the esteem or value (syn.: respect) many Mejicanos and Nuevo Mejicanos have for the traditional image and its role in their personal experience.


PEDRO: The dominant culture's cultural apparatus, such as the Museum of New Mexico, validates and has propagandized this ignorant trivialization. Lopez's work serves the dominant culture view. >

RR"S RESPONSE: THAT CERTAINLY IS YOUR OPINION. And you're entitled to it. What should be kept in mind is that this is a show... not a permanent monument. Based on what I've read in this debate, the only thing that could ever or should ever go up are things that go through an office of inquisition. If this was being displayed in a church, then maybe that's appropriate... but it's not...

Pedro: Lopez says "Our Lady" is not devotional. As it is written: "It is literally true: 'Human things must be known in order to be loved; divine things must loved in order to be known.'" -the Urantia Book

RR's response... I have not for the above qoute... However, I do want to say that when we first wrote about this, I spoke to a law professor who said: I know what my what mother would say about this... yes. I also know what my mother has to say about this... and there's no one alive I respect more than my mother. That's why I say that we should be respectful of all things sacred. Yet, let's not forget that an image is often representational and is indeed subject to desecration... the image itself is not what is sacred... either way, why would that affect someone's faith.... perhaps the solution is not to create images of things sacred... to hold what is sacred deep in our hearts... and that way, nonone or nothing can desecrate our spirituality...

Roberto Rodriguez


Subject: Our Lady
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 13:42:35 -0500
From: Erica Hill <erhill@siu.edu>
To: almalopez@earthlink.net

Sra. Lopez,

A Latina friend e-mailed me about the furor over "Our Lady."

I just want to tell you that your image of la Virgen is beautiful.

Our Lady has a thousand faces. Thank you for representing one of them so courageously.

Erica Hill