NEW MEXICO MUSEUM COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT ALMA LOPEZ'S OUR LADY REMAIN ON DISPLAY
SANTA FE, NM -- On May 22, 2001, the Museum of New Mexico Committee on Sensitive Materials recommended that OUR LADY -- a work by Los Angeles artists Alma Lopez which is included in the exhibition CYBER ARTE: WHERE TRADITION MEETS TECHNOLOGY at the Museum of International Folk Art -- remain on display.
The work is considered "offensive"
by some members of the Catholic community who asked that it be removed from
OUR LADY, a digital photograph depicting the
Virgin of Guadalupe, features two of the artist's friends: performance artist
Raquel Salinas as a contemporary Virgen dressed in roses and cultural activist
Raquel Gutierrez as a nude butterfly angel, Alma Lopez explains on her website
"Even if I look really hard at 'Our Lady'
and the works of many Chicana artists, I don't see what is so offensive,"
she writes. "I see beautiful bodies that are gifts from our creator.
Maybe because my mother breast-fed me as a baby, I see breasts as nurturing.
Maybe because I love women, I see beauty and strength. I also see the true
representation of Mary. Mary was an awesome woman and mother with a difficult
task. She had a child that was not her husband's, she kept her son safe from
a murderous king, she suffered her son's struggles and death, and most of
all she raised her son to have love and compassion for everyone, including
female prostitutes. I think Mary was a lot like some of our mothers."
In its response, the Committee acknowledged
"the depth of feeling and emotion behind recent objections, coupled with
the fact that members of these communities believe the exhibition or images
within the exhibition are disrespectful." The Committee recognized the
right of members of the community to disagree with the Museum of International
Folk Art's presentation, but it noted, among other points that "The Museum
of International Folk Art selected the works in the Cyber Arte exhibition
in the spirit of free exchange of ideas and mutual respect for various points
of view. Under their agreement with the Museum of International Folk Art,
the artists selected for inclusion in the exhibition have rights under the
First Amendment to have their works displayed free of censorship or other
The Committee concluded: "Based on its
findings and overall analysis, the Committee on Sensitive Materials recommends
that all the artwork in the Cyber Arte exhibition remain on public view for
the duration of the exhibition."
Sources/resources: ALMA LOPEZ HOME PAGE -- http://www.almalopez.net
The exhibition CYBER ARTE: WHERE TRADITION MEETS
TECHNOLOGY features computer-inspired work by contemporary Hispana/Chicana/Latina
artists, who combine elements traditionally defined as "folk" with
current computer technology to "create a new aesthetic". It is at
the Museum of International Folk Art through October 28 and also includes
work by Elena Baca, Marion Martinez, and Teresa Archuleta Sagel.
"OUR LADY by Alma Lopez Triggers Controversy
in Santa Fe"
Arts Wire CURRENT -- http://www.artswire.org/current/2001/cur041701.html
April 17, 2001