Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Controversy in Wappingers

This arcticle appears today in the Poughkeepsie Journal.
The press release for the exhibit is here.

I'm partial to the quote from
Maeghan MacDougall: "The painting also rips off Michelangelo's 'Pieta,'" As if this adds insult to injury, and someone should nail the artist for plagiary.....or imagery infringement.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Protesters see red on exhibit

By Erikah Haavie
Poughkeepsie Journal

Rosary beads in hand, a dozen adults gathered on the floor at Dutchess Community College Tuesday to ask for "reparation of the sin of blasphemy."
With heads bowed, they knelt before the oil painting, "Magdalene Mourning Her Lover," which depicts Mary Magdalene holding a fallen Jesus Christ.
The controversial painting by Ecuadorean-born artist Hugo Bastidas is part of an art exhibit celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the college's Mildred I. Washington Gallery.
Participants in the vigil described the painting as an insult to the Christian faith.
"You would not mock the Dalai Lama. You would not mock the God of Islam. You would not mock the God of Judaism. You will not mock my God," said Salt Point resident Helen Westover, one of the vigil organizers.
While she doesn't expect the painting to be taken down, Westover said she hopes the vigil will get people thinking.
"The time of Christian-bashing without consequence is over," she said.
'Publicity stunt'
Milan resident Maeghan MacDougall saw the piece when it was on display at a New York City art gallery.
In a phone interview prior to the vigil, she called the piece a "publicity stunt."
The artist is cashing in on the popularity of "The Da Vinci Code," a book that alleged Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The painting also rips off Michelangelo's "Pieta," the marble statue in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, she said.
"He's made a mark because he's going to trash something that's sacred to millions of people," MacDougall said. "This degrades art."
Bastidas could not be reached for comment.
College spokeswoman Ann Winfield said he's studying in Paris.
The college has no plans to remove the artwork, Winfield said.
"We cannot censor it. To pull it would stifle academic and artistic freedom," she said.
The college invited Bastidas and two other artists to display their work for the exhibit. No college funds were spent to pay the artists, Winfield said.
She said there are many different ways to interpret the piece.
"There was great love in their relationship on many levels," said Winfield, also a Catholic. It "could just as easily refer to the platonic and spiritual love for Christ."
The exhibit continues through Nov. 15.
Erikah Haavie can be reached at

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