Dangerous Representation ¦ Chocolate Jesus’ Penis ¦ Trickster Art



In news rather like that surrounding the furore over Andreas Serrano’sPiss Christ‘, the BBC are reporting ‘outrage’ over a 6 foot chocolate Jesus being displayed in a gallery in Manhattan.

The piece, entitled ‘My Sweet Lord’ is by the artist Cosimo Cavallaro has drawn huge fire from the Catholic League, who described the piece as "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."

I’ve obviously not seen the piece properly, but my sense is that it looks like a wonderfully cheeky critique of the saccharine nature of modern Easter-tide. I wonder if those in the Catholic League would normally purchase chocolate eggs for their children around this time? Are we not all guilty of sweetening the impact of Christ’s death?

It also seems likely that the CL are offended by Jesus’ penis being shown. Did he not have one? Would he not have been stripped naked to be crucified? Isn’t a loin cloth just a lie?

It seems again that those who seek to represent Christ in anything other than explicitly Christian and conservative works are going to find themselves heavily under attack. But, as in the work of Serrano, what I hope is happening is that these artists are playing the Trickster role that they ought, and are forcing us to re-evaluate our engagement with Christ over Easter.

This is why the Catholic League are wrong to moan about the timing of the show being offensive… That’s precisely why the timing of the show is right. It is making us all think. And if a chocolate Jesus is the worst sort of suffering we are going to get over the Holy Week, then we really need to spend more time meditating on the true nature of Christ’s suffering, and on those in the world who are genuinely being persecuted for their faith.



3 responses to “Dangerous Representation ¦ Chocolate Jesus’ Penis ¦ Trickster Art”

  1. It is amazing how quick the church is to condemn such art without thinking to pause and reflect on what the artist might actually be trying to communicate/subvert. Looks like a fab bit of work – although I bet they have to keep the temprature down to avoid Jesus becoming a sticky mess.

  2. Interesting piece of art for sure. Would Jesus have been stripped naked for crucifixion, was this customary? Reminds me of a song called Chocolate Jesus by Foy Vance.

  3. i think it is an excellent piece of subversive art. we all need to be reminded of the more than ‘sweet’ nature of Jesus, particularly at this time – like you say, exactly why it is the best time for the exhibition.