The archbishop of Santa Fe says a bikini-clad version of the Virgin Mary shown in a folk art museum depicts her "as if she were a tart" and should be removed. But Alma Lopez, the Los Angeles artist who designed the photo collage on a computer, says she doesn't see what's offensive about showing the Virgin of Guadalupe as a modern woman, "a strong woman, like us." . . . More than 700 people showed up for a Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents meeting to debate removing Our Lady from the exhibit, far more than the meeting hall could hold. The meeting was cancelled and rescheduled for Monday in a larger venue. . . . Check out the work in question here: Our Lady by Alma Lopez.

Salon | Santa Fe New Mexican | Alma Lopez (April 2001)
The Museum of International Folk Art has decided to keep Alma Lopez's photo collage Our Lady on display. Protesters had been lobbying to remove the piece, which depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe wearing a computer-generated floral bikini. The museum also announced that, "in the spirit of reconciliation," it will close the exhibit that includes Lopez's work in October rather than next February as planned. Check out Alma Lopez's web site to view Our Lady. Lopez's site also includes her "artist statement," a timeline of the controversy, documents and letters related to the museum debate, and a massive collection of email responses (both positive and negative).
Santa Fe New Mexican | Alma Lopez