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Arts and Culture

Outrage Over Last Supper Orgy Image Rattles Vienna Museum

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Posted on Apr 11, 2008
Austrian exhibit
AP photo / Lilli Strauss

Museum-goers check out Austrian artist Alfred Hrdlicka’s works at the diocesan museum in Vienna on Friday.

A Catholic Church-affiliated museum in Vienna was shaken up this week by a controversy that erupted over the display of an unconventional rendering of Jesus and his disciples sharing the Last Supper—and then some—in an exhibit called “Religion, Flesh and Power.”  The etching, by Austrian artist Alfred Hrdlicka, depicts Jesus and his faithful followers engaging in sex acts, an interpretation that has proved highly unpopular in some circles.


AP via Breitbart.com:

Bernhard Boehler, director of the cathedral museum, said earlier this week he was “surprised at the heat of the battle” over the orgy drawing.

“In Austria, no special reason is required for a church museum to dedicate an exhibition to the most important living sculptor,” Boehler said. But he said the museum decided to remove the offending work “out of consideration for the religious feelings of some Christians.”

“The protests came primarily out of fundamentalist Christian circles in the USA and Germany,” he said, referring to various Web sites.

“There is a long dialogue between art and the church,” Boehler added. “For the church, the quality is decisive—not the piety of the artwork.”

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By Dave Beemon, May 8, 2008 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

faith is not dignified. It’s rather stupid, actually. to base one’s life on a book of literature ....

for instance…if I were to base my existence on the idea of Joyce’s Ulysses…

each hour of every day would be conducted in a different style.

what is there about the apostles having sex with one another that bothers you? Only one of them was supposedly the “son of god.”

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By comment, April 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it is so telling that people would get upset with this portrayal but can not understand the portrayal of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as a violent war monger in a comic strip, art does have meaning.

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By TDoff, April 16, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Looks like the Pope’s outfit is challenging Larry Flynt to become the world’s leading sex empire.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 16, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

why would god always promise? why not give? we all want peace. but the three semitic gods give us much trouble. and the weakest among us suffer at the hands of the strongest among us. its god’s will assert muslims, christians, and judaists.

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By blueshift, April 15, 2008 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

“the quality is decisive—not the piety of the artwork”

so the content of the art is…irrelevant? Art is reduced to form and technique? I’m not take one side or the other. Just saying the assertion you make is ludicrous.

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By Marshall, April 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Funny, I sometimes think the same thing about the left.

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By blog dog, April 14, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, Nelson, I, like many I know, do make a conscious effort to boycott all the so-called professionals you cite - many of whom are overpaid phonies - and who’s claiming perfection anyway? We all come up short somewhere, but almost nobody I know is as morally weak as the more prurient clergy, and after all, they’re the ones in the morality business.

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By Vash the Stampede, April 14, 2008 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t know. Getting your head chopped off might be better than having to listen to their pitiful arguments.

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By Vash the Stampede, April 14, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are completely deluded about the reality of religion.

1. Jesus’ death means nothing except to the people who are christian and believe in the supernatural.

2. Homosexuality is not immoral behavior. Over 300 animal species have some sort of homosexual behavior. How could god create immoral beasts?

3. Christian rituals haven’t always been as tame as they are nowadays.

4.Human rights have nothing to do with religion specifically but simply freedom of expression. Therefore, you are trying to violate human rights by trying to censor the painting. Don’t like it, don’t look at it…

5. There is no dignity in faith, only dignity in people.

6. The only pig here is you. You have taken a pearl of expression and buried it in the filth of your hate.

Good day.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 14, 2008 at 5:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it is the believers who speak for god and jesus. i, who rejects organized reilgions and numerous (mis)teachings in torah, bible, and quran, do not speak about or for spooks and ghosts.
i speak of only what i see. hear. taste, smell, and touch; no one can touch, see, etc. a ghost. we do not have factual information. we do not know what jesus said. but we do known that the torah and bible were written mostly by males. and these were ferocious, angry, hateful, intolerant people; the worst we humans could have. so please let’s not waste our time with an ideology that deals mainly with wishful thinking. thank you

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By weather, April 14, 2008 at 2:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I respect both of these replys. Forgive my arrogance for ever thinking I could interpret Christ’s reactions in the first place.

Forgiveness and Love motivated him far more than justice or revenge and if that is true where there is Love,  laughter can’t be far behind.

I love and respect the mystics of many faiths and beliefs, but especially Christ because he fortifyied Mary’s standing, I find as a heterosexual male the act of praying and respecting both genders fulfilling.

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By politicalnsurgent, April 13, 2008 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frankly, I think Jesus would be pissed. He’d probably sue. Think about it on a modern level, would you appreciate someone randomely making an obscene painting of you for the sake of artistic expression? This is art only on the lowest level you can get it. I don’t even take Jesus as my personal savior and I think it stinks.

Whatever happened to painting pretty vases of flowers and things?

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By Marshall, April 13, 2008 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Why don’t you sell your computer and use the cash to feed the starving?

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By nelson, April 13, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What do you think, purple girl? You think the law enforcement can do anything to eliminate sexual deviants? There are laws in the world to prevent it. Why does it still happen? Take a guesss at how many doctors sexually assault there patients. Or teachers there students. You going to stop going to school? Are you going to stop seeing the doctor when you need one? The law enforcement can’t stop these things from happening what makes you think the Pope can? People are going to do what they do. All the Pope can do is have them excomunicated. He has. If you want to bring up the past, I can give you a long list of horrible deeds your law enforcement and governments have done to many races of people. Remember the slave trade?
Of course not! Let’s just pick on the church. Your just perfect too aren’t you?

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By kath cantarella, April 13, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

those boys got laid.

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By bozhidar bob balkas, April 13, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

most clergy, or maybe even all, make oodles and oodles of ‘promises’. they also damn a lot. torah and bible are full of it.
but if either of the two jewish gods existed would he have not stopped ‘promising’ and started giving?
if this is taken in view, both judaism and christianity debunk their respective ideologies.
for their gods are no longer almighty but impotent.
actually, to me, religion being an organization, always sides with the ruling class against poor people. we still get ‘promises’ while rich get that plus the right to get rich or super rich. thank you
yet, people get fooled by obvious gangsters.
thank you.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, April 13, 2008 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

The Vatican as ususal is concerned about a dipiction that could be considered offensive, but fails to accept the Offensive acts committed by THEM throughout history and into Today.
Thsi list of Crimes is far to long for any blog- a lengthy doctoral dissertaion would only scratch the surface. But suffice to say- If the Pope focused more on the child molestations committed by his clergy (past and very likely present)he’d be a far better leader of the religion doctrine. At the very least- tear down the gold that lines his Palace and use it to feed the starving around the World (not to mention it’s bank acccounts filled with Blood money). The Vatican (along with other religions ) had better Pray Judgement day is just a rouse they use to scare the masses. Because they may find they are the ones to suffer the Wrath. As a Long Recover Catholic, now atheist- I kinda hope the End of Days does come so we can finally rid manKIND of these self Ordained Slave masters

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By Marshall, April 12, 2008 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

...to protest over someone making fun of their religion rather than killing the artist or chopping the heads of captives instead!  What a wussy religion is Christianity!!!

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By Nelson, April 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Weather, Your obviously not a Christian if you say Jesus would laugh about such things. He Cried at our disobedience.He died and suffered for our disobedience. I don’t think he found that funny, would you? This is exactly what I expected would happen when anglicans blessed same sex marriage. You give them a blessing to commit themselves to immoral behaviour and they go crazy making a mockery of the faith with there perverted blasphemous scandles. It is an insult and an assault to the faithful and devoted to even allow such people to trash something so sacred to us. It is in violation of our human rights. Such garbage is a direct attack on the dignity of our faith.
Jesus spoke truly in Matthew 7:6.

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By weather, April 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jesus might laugh, I think he was alot bigger about this kinda stuff.

It is the people who purport to Love him that are arrogant enough to think they speak for him.

- as for DaVinci I would Love to have known him too.

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