Sunday, April 01, 2007

Not April fools -- a high caloric art prank

It is Palm Sunday today, and the Chocolate Jesus controversy has arrived. Although it may have passed over the rest of Jerusalem, which is busy readying for Passover, the triumphal Jewish spring festival that celebrates exodus and return with a family feast, grumblings have been overheard. Complaints about sacrilege have reached the Christian quarter of the Old City, the same place where US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her entourage, including Keith Ellison, America's first Muslim Congressman, toured yesterday with their bodyguards.

Photos of a New York gallery exhibit--a lifesize and anatomically correct "My Sweet Lord" (sans loin cloth)-- have stirred up ire at the unconventional exposure of a 45,000 calorie deity. Devout Christians tend to ritually eat the body of Christ via little flat eucharist wafers not unlike matza. So displaying a 200-pound candy Christ, like a gargantuan bunny or Easter Egg, has upset a large swathe of Christendom...including the priests inside Jerusalem, who tut-tutted privately at the amount of publicity which has been generated for the Lab Gallery and the artist-cum-chocolatier, Cosimo Cavallaro. Now this show has been cancelled because of a public outcry and the candy-coated christ is stored inside a refrigerated truck away from the gallery, as alternative offers pour in. Sweet Jesus-- ain't exactly Piss Christ (Andres Serrano, 1987), but the timing is piss poor, and deliberately so. Maximum exposure for the naked Christ was guaranteed by displaying it on the Lenten week between Palm Sunday and Easter. This was what rankled a cardinal or two.

The notion of a chocolate Jesus is not so radical. Edible crucifixes are sold for Easter Baskets. And after all, Tom Waits growled out his raspy ballad Chocolate Jesus last year on late night tv,
Since Waits drawls the words in the YouTube clip, we'd better spell out the lyrics:

Chocolate Jesus

Well, i don't go to church on sunday
Don't get on my knees to pray
Don't memorize the books of the bible
I got my own special way

I know jesus loves me
Maybe just a little bit more
I fall down on my knees every sunday
At zerelda lee's candy store

Well, it's got to be a chocolate jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate jesus
Keep me satisfied

Well, i don't want no abba zabba
Don't want no almond joy
There ain't nothing better
Suitable for this boy

Well, it's the only thing that can pick me up
It's better than a cup of gold
See, only a chocolate jesus
Can satisfy my soul

When the weather gets rough and it's whiskey in the shade
It's best to wrap your savior up in cellophane
He flows like the big muddy but that's okay
Pour him over ice cream for a nice parfait

Well, it's got to be a chocolate jesus
Good enough for me
Got to be a chocolate jesus
It's good enough for me

And it's got to be a chocolate jesus
Make me feel so good inside
Got to be a chocolate jesus
Keep me satisfied


Anonymous said...

how come this is in some refrigerated truck and not in my goy gay son's easter basket? And how come the news broadcasts did not bend to religious sensitivities the way they would have with, say, a Mohammed sculpted in pork fat? Or a Baby Moses in chopped liver? They hold different standards for differenct groups of worshippers , no?

dronecrone said...

Hey-don't believe those reports out of NY that somebody made off with the chocolate penis of Jesus. That was just an April Fools joke...but Harper's Mag reported it