Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Billboard of the Beast, Sign of the Times

It may come as a shock, but it seems there are some residents of Maryland that have very little appreciation for controversial art. A billboard featuring Jesus endorsing a Budweiser-esque beer was vandalized with white paint this week by an as yet anonymous assailant. It brings to mind the many people who were horrified by the Sensations exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999 and Chris Ofili’s allegedly blasphemous “Holy Virgin Mary” in particular. Yet in this case, the use of Jesus as a advertising pitchman is meant to reinforce just the kind of reverence the witless paint-wielder assumably though he was defending. The artist is lampooning the advertising industry, one he clearly thinks has no shame and probably would stoop to putting Jesus in a beer ad. If he didn’t expect a certain reverence for the image of JC from his audience the piece would have no impact. So, Unnamed Vandal, he’s on your side - which you might have realized if you spent more time contemplating art and less time destroying it.


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