2014年6月2日 星期一

The Holy Virgin Mary By Chris Ofili, 1996

這幅畫,是有史以來,最特殊的一幅充滿非洲津巴布韋地域藝術氣息和文化傳統的【聖母瑪利亞】名畫。主要的作畫原料,是當地的象糞、亞麻布和閃光片、圖釘 等,一位英國青年,克里斯.奧菲莉於1991(sic)年,在紐約布魯克林博物館的作品展展出,沒掛在牆上,而是放在兩堆象糞上,這在非洲當地,是代表神聖之物,而 人像的背景,又掛了很多來雜誌上的女性生殖器,這表示女性多產。以後,這樣的展出,成為此畫作展出的慣例。雖然當時藝術家一致讚美此作品的獨創性和優美。 但,紐約市的天主教徒和紐約市長彭博,都非常厭惡此作品。我這是從【詹森藝術史】書上,取材的。

-----Wikipedia   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holy_Virgin_Mary

The Holy Virgin Mary is a painting created by Chris Ofili in 1996. It was one of the works included in the Sensation exhibition in London, Berlin and New York in 1997–2000. The subject of the work, and its execution, caused considerable controversy in New York, with Rudolph Giuliani – then Mayor of New York City – describing Ofili's work as "sick".[1]
External images
The Holy Virgin Mary
On a yellow-orange background, the large painting (8 feet high by 6 feet wide) depicts a black woman wearing a blue robe, a traditional attribute of the Virgin Mary. The work employs mixed media, including oil paint, glitter, and polyester resin, and also elephant dung and collaged pornographic images. The central Black Madonna is surrounded by many collaged images that resemble butterflies at first sight, but on closer inspection are photographs of female genitalia; an ironic reference to the putti that appear in traditional religious art. A lump of dried, varnished elephant dung forms one bared breast, and the painting is displayed leaning against the gallery wall, supported by two other lumps of elephant dung, decorated with coloured pins: the pins on the left are arranged to spell out "Virgin" and the one on the right "Mary". Many other works by Ofili in this period – including No Woman No Cry – incorporate elephant dung, particularly as supports for the canvas, inspired by a period that Ofili spent in Zimbabwe.[2]
The mixture of the sacred (Virgin Mary) and the profane (excrement and pornography) became a cause of controversy when the Sensation exhibition moved to New York in 1999. The City of New York and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani brought a court case against the Brooklyn Museum, with Giuliani describing the exhibition of Ofili's work as "sick" and "disgusting". Giuliani attempted to withdraw the annual $7 million City Hall grant from the museum, and threatened it with eviction. The museum resisted Giuliani's demands, and its director, Arnold L. Lehman, filed a federal lawsuit against Giuliani for a breach of the First Amendment. The museum eventually won the court case.[3]
Giuliani was reported as claiming that Ofili had thrown elephant dung at a painting of the Virgin Mary: "The idea of having so-called works of art in which people are throwing elephant dung at a picture of the Virgin Mary is sick."[4] The press also reported that the painting was "smeared", "splattered" or "stained" with dung.[5][6] Ofili, raised as a Roman Catholic commented that "elephant dung in itself is quite a beautiful object."[7] Other people doubted about the sincerity of these explanations, such as Carol Becker, who commented: "One has to question the sincerity of an artist like Chris Ofili, who in interviews presented the Holy Virgin Mary as nothing that should offend".[8]
The work was protected by a plexiglass screen, but was damaged when Dennis Heiner smeared white paint over the canvas on 16 December 1999. Heiner was charged with second-degree criminal mischief, and received a conditional discharge and a $250 fine. Scott LoBaido, an artist from Staten Island, was arrested on 30 September 1999 for throwing horse manure at the museum. He accused Chris Ofili's work of "Catholic bashing". Museum guards protecting the painting were quoted as saying: "It's not the Virgin Mary. It's a painting."[9]
Ofili's work caused less of a stir in the exhibition's London in 1997 or in Berlin in 1998. A planned exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in 2000 was cancelled after the US controversy.
The painting was bought by David Walsh in 2007. It was included in Ofili's mid-career retrospective at Tate Britain in 2010.[1][10] As of 2011, it is exhibited at Walsh's Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania – the largest private art museum in the Southern Hemisphere.[11]


  1. Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary returns to London, Gareth Harris, The Daily Telegraph, 28 January 2010
  2. Hillary steps into dung art row, BBC News, 28 September 1999
  3. Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment, Floyd Abrams, Penguin, 2006, ISBN 0-14-303675-0, pp. 188–230
  4. Sensation sparks New York storm, BBC News, 23 September 1999
  5. Judging the image: art, value, law, Alison Young, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-30184-X, pp. 38–41
  6. Feminine look: sexuation, spectatorship, subversion, Jennifer Friedlander, SUNY Press, 2008 ISBN 0-7914-7295-7, p. 88
  7. Whiff of sensation hits New York, The Daily Telegraph, 2 October 1999
  8. Messing with the Sacred., Caroldbecker.com, 2011
  9. Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary, Jerry Saltz, artnet (reprinted from Man in the Middle, Village Voice, 1999)
  10. Chris Ofili at Tate Britain, Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times, 29 January 2010
  11. Chthonic and iconic, Peter Hill, Times Higher Education, 24 February 2011

External links


The Holy Virgin Mary and Mayor Giuliani

One of his paintings, The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction of the Virgin Mary, was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the "Sensation" exhibit. The painting depicted a Black Madonna surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines, and elephant dung. These were formed into shapes reminiscent of the cherubim and seraphim commonly depicted in images of the Immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary. Following the scandal surrounding this painting, Bernard Goldberg ranked Ofili No. 86 in 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Red Grooms showed his support of the artist by purchasing one of Ofili's paintings in 1999, even after Giuliani famously exclaimed, "There’s nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!”[6] The painting is now owned by David Walsh and is on display at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania.[7]