Letter: Disgusted by Aspen Art Museum exhibit
Whether I am a fan of the architecture of the Aspen Art Museum, or where it is located, or how it came to be, that is not the reason behind my writing this letter.
I have many, many friends who have made both major and minor contributions to the museum in an effort to bring the work of a world-class architect to our mountain town. I thank them for their generosity. Their vision may not necessarily mirror mine, but I respect their accomplishment.
That being said, I am shocked and disgusted by the vision of the director and board in inviting the display of a work that I fail to see has any redeeming value and certainly no benefit other than to appeal to the prurient interests of a narrow few. The work by Chris Ofili titled “The Holy Virgin Mary,” which incorporates elephant dung as the basis for the virgin’s bare breast, is truly disgusting. The painting, whose subject is one of the most sacred of all Christian figures, is then surrounded by a collage of anatomical parts from pornographic magazines. To display this is outrageous. I understand that the shock value of this painting elevated its monetary appreciation when it changed hands years ago, but to elevate it to public display in our new museum invites critical conversation, but at the expense of what is right.
This, in fact, may be the objective, but this is done in an affront to all religions. My reaction to the inclusion of this work would be no different if the elephant dung had been place on the Star of David or in Buddha’s lap. How does one answer the inquisitive nature of our children and grandchildren as they innocently question why would anyone incorporate feces and porn in a portrait of the Virgin Mary?
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