Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"I Am the Resurrection" … and the Chocolate

Hopefully some readers remember the great controversy surrounding the exhibition during Holy Week of Cosimo Cavallaro's "My Sweet Lord," a life-sized sculpture of the crucified Jesus made out of chocolate (complete with genitalia), which Daniel Trotta reported for Reuters. Well, the story has risen again; and Trotta was there to document its second coming (again for Reuters). Here is the "happy ending" to the story:

The chocolate Jesus will be joined by sculptures of several fully clothed saints, but the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said it will not protest because, unlike before, there are no plans to put the "anatomically correct" Jesus in public view during Holy Week.

The Proposition gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood will present "Chocolate Saints ... Sweet Jesus," an exhibition timed to coincide with All Saints' Day on November 1. The show will run October 27 to November 24.

This time I was glad to see that the artist was given a chance to talk about his motives in making this work:

A gallery statement said Cavallaro was raised as a Catholic altar boy and questioned church precepts but always held a fondness for Holy Communion.

"Remembering the mystical/transcendental quality and rushes of memory associated with the Catholic wafer received during Holy Communion, he recalls equating that ritual of ecstasy to his own experience of chocolate," the statement said.

Personally, I am willing to accept the surface-level sincerity of this text. I find it far more genuine (and believable) than most of the more institutionalized professions of faith, particularly those that feel that God has given them a right to interfere with my private life, and would place it in the same category as the religious philosophy of John from Cincinnati. After all, art remains one of the best channels through which we can reflect on our own natures; and, for many of us, that "experience of chocolate" is part of our human nature!

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