April 16, 2011


from leperez
to communications@museumca.org
cc Alma Lopez Gaspar de Alba <almalopez310@gmail.com>
date Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM
subject Support for Alma Lopez's "Our Lady" Print
mailed-by berkeley.edu
hide details Apr 16
April 16, 2011

Dear Oakland Museum of Art Staff:

I am writing to support your decision to exhibit Alma Lopez Gaspar de
Alba's "Our Lady" print and to defend the artist's vision in the work.

In my view, the borrowing of imagery from the traditional Catholic and
Christian iconography of Mother Mary or the Virgen of Guadalupe is, among
many possible interpretations, a way of suggesting that every day human
beings, among these women of color and queer women of color lovers, are
also sacred, both in their bodies and in their love.

Even the Catholic Church holds that the body of Christ is its
parishioners, not only its elite male clergy, and that revelation of the
meaning of the world of Jesus comes through every day people as well.
Mine is one opinion but no doubt felt by many: it seems illogical to
speak of love for our fellow beings yet to draw the line at love for women
who love women or even more simply for every day women of color lovingly
adorned by a full body halo or mandorla symbolizing their sacredness too,
or more simply, the power of love incarnate.

This work, like so many others by Chicana women is a loving tribute to the
love of women of color for themselves and each other that follows the
mandate to love others as one's self. Of course, this is my own
interpretation, but I also wish to point out that to attack and interpret
this image by Alma Lopez in a scandalized way raises the question of why
it should be offensive to anyone when an artist, non-ironically, places
objects within halos that signify divine love?

I have written in some detail about this topic in my book, Chicana Art:
The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities (Duke University Press,
2007), should you feel the need for more details.

Patriarchal and homophobic, heteronormative intolerance is exactly that.
It is not the Word of God nor is it democratic when it harasses
institutions and artists to remove art pieces.

Frankly, I find such protests hypocritical, since museums are full of
dehumanizing, degrading, disrespectful images of women represented as
sexual objects, rather than as full human beings who are in control of
their own affections and bodies. Where are the protests to this type of
dehumanizing work that contributes to the horrible violence against women,
across classes and ethnicities?

I can't imagine that Mother Mary/Virgen de Guadalupe feels anything other
than affection for respectful and joyful lovers of every sort and for the
courage of women who dare to stand up to men who wish to subjugate them by
hijacking religiosity, in claiming quite self-interestedly that
male-centered patriarchy is divinely ordained. I don't feel such images
debase Mother Mary/Vigen de Guadalupe, quite the contrary. The mantle of
the Blessed Virgin symbolically protects women who like her endured the
ravages of the human injustice called homophobic patriarchy and more
largely, the scourge of intolerance of differences.

Hang in there and congratulations on your conviction and courage in
display Alma Lopez de Gaspar de Alba's "Our Lady." And congratulations to
the artist for her own tremendous courage in depicting a vision of love
and respect and spirituality that I do believe constitutes Revelation as
to how to become more humane human beings.

With best wishes,

Laura E. Perez
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies
Core Faculty, Doctoral Program in Performance Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Women's Studies and Center for Latin
American Studies
University of California, Berkeley



From Therese Meisling
reply-to Therese Meisling
to almaloveslupe@gmail.com
date Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 6:44 AM
subject Love you
hide details 6:44 AM
Even though you have shown the most vulgar display of Our Beloved Lady of Guadalupe, you are still loved by God--although I pray that you will one day endure His mercy and justice. For this act of sacralige, it may be quite painful for you--physically, emotionally and spiritually. May Our Dear God Bless you--you're going to need it--may He have mercy on your decrepit soul. Evil, simply evil.

from Alma Lopez <almaloveslupe@gmail.com>
to Therese Meisling
date Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 1:00 PM
subject Re: Love you
mailed-by gmail.com
hide details Apr 16
If you are emailing regarding my "Our Lady" print currently on view in the exhibition Contemporary Coda at the Oakland Museum of California, thanks for your interest.

To learn more about the print, we suggest you read "Our Lady of Controversy: Alma López's 'Irreverent Apparition'" published by the University of Texas Press, 2011.

You can purchase the book at the Oakland Museum store or you can order online at a 33% discount, directly from the press at http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/gasour.html

Lupe LOVES you and may the Goddess bless you.

from Therese Meisling
reply-to Therese Meisling
to Alma Lopez <almaloveslupe@gmail.com>
date Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 5:03 PM
subject Re: Love you
hide details Apr 16
I will continue to pray for you. Please know, you have hurt good Catholics very very much with your "art." Our faith is attacked both from within and without, but someday, all people will know that Jesus Christ is Lord and His mother is Holy and worthy of respect. I just hope you realize this before it is too late. The time for conversion is now, don't wait until it is too late. May the true God of heaven and His son Jesus bless you. May your sins be revealed to you before you die, so you may repent and turn back to the true God. Good luck and God bless, you're going to need it. amdg


From: González, Dr. Deena J.
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2011 2:06 PM
To: 'communications@museumca.org'
Subject: Support for exhibiting Our Lady


I was sorry to hear about the organized, dogmatic, fanatics protesting your showing one image of Our Lady b Alma Lopez; some controversy or dialogue is good, but the fanatics are frightening in their invective. I trust that the courage and sound judgments of the curatorial staff and directors will be supported so that all communities benefit from feminist and “in their own works” vision of artists from communities traditionally not represented in mainstream institutions (the traditional Catholic Church, for example).

Thank you,

Professor Deena Gonzalez
Department of Chicana/o Studies
Loyola Marymount University