Tag Archives: crucifix

Mother charged with using crucifix to kill daughter

A 49-year-old Oklahoma woman has been charged with first-degree murder on suspicion of killing her daughter whom she thought was possessed by the devil by jamming a crucifix down her throat and beating her, court records released this week showed.

Juanita Gomez was booked last week in the death of Geneva Gomez, whose body was found in an Oklahoma City home with a large cross on her chest, a probable cause affidavit said.

Local media said the daughter was 33 years old.

No lawyer was listed for Gomez in online jail records.

Police said Gomez confessed to the crime, telling officers she forced a crucifix and religious medallion down her daughter’s throat until blood came out.

“Juanita saw her daughter die and then placed her body in the shape of a cross,” the affidavit said.

Gomez was being held without bond at the Oklahoma County jail.

Controversial Smithsonian gay art exhibit wins Best of Show prize

An international arts critic group has awarded a controversial LGBT art exhibit at the Smithsonian one of its annual Best in Show awards.

The U.S. section of the International Association of Art Critics/AICA-USA announced the award, along with 23 others, this week. The awards honor artists, curators, museums, galleries and other cultural institutions for excellence in the conception and realization of exhibitions.

The winning projects were nominated and voted on by the 400 active members to honor outstanding exhibitions of the previous season – June 2010 to June 2011.

The 24 winners of first and second places in 12 categories, selected from more than 100 finalists, include exhibitions focusing on contemporary artists Christian Marclay, Sarah Sze and Al Weiwei, the 20th century artists Pablo Picasso, Sonia Delaunay, Kurt Schwitters, and Paul Thek, as well as thematic exhibitions dealing with history of drawing through the 20th century, contemporary Japanese art, and Fluxus. 

The first place for Best Thematic Museum Show Nationally went to “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” in the National Portrait Gallery, at the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibit ran from Oct. 20, 2010, to Feb. 13, 2011. Curators were David C. Ward and Jonathan D. Katz.

Conservatives, especially the Catholic League, objected to the exhibit, specifically a video called “A Fire in My Belly” by the late David Wojnarowicz that included an image of ants crawling on a crucifix. The piece was removed from the show, a decision Smithsonian officials later said was wrong.

Second place in the category went to “The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power, 1973-1991,” at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, N.Y., and curated by Helaine Posner and Nancy Princenthal.

Other winners:


1. Sarah Sze, Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat), The High Line, New York, NY (June 8, 2011 – June 2012), Curator: Lauren Ross

2. Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, Pulitzer Fountain, Grand Army Plaza, New York, NY (May 2 – July 15, 2011); Project Organizer: Larry Warsh/AW Asia


1. Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, Japan Society, New York, NY (March 18 – June 12, 2011); Curator: David Elliott

2. Ursula von Rydingsvard: Sculpture 1991-2009, SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY (January 23 – March 28, 2011); Curator: Helaine Posner


1. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (April 16 – August 7, 2011); Curator: Jacquelynn Baas

2. Perpetual Motion: Michael Goldberg, University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA (September 9 – December 12, 2010); Curators: Chris Scoates and Elizabeth Anne Hanson



1. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (May 4 – August 7, 2011); Curators: Andrew Bolton with the support of Harold Koda

2. Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY (March 18 – June 19, 2011); Curators: Susan Brown and Matilda McQuaid


1. Stan VanDerBeek: The Cultural Intercom, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX (February 4 – April 3, 2011 and May 14 – July 10, 2011); Curators: Bill Arning and João Ribas

2. Yael Bartana: A Declaration, “Conversations at the Edge” at the Gene Siskel Film Center, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (March 10, 2011); Project Organizers: Andrea Green and Amy Beste


1. Christian Marclay, The Clock, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, NY (January 21 – February 19, 2011); Producer: Paula Cooper Gallery

2. Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’Amour Fou, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY (April 14 – July 15, 2011); Curators: John Richardson and Diana Widmaier Picasso



1. Theaster Gates: An Epitaph for Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago, IL (April 30 – July 11, 2011); Curators: Kavi Gupta, Julia Fischbach, Peter Skvara, and Theodore Boggs

2. Lari Pittman: New Paintings and Orangerie, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (September 11 – October 23, 2010); Curators: Lari Pittman and Shaun Caley Regen


1. Paul Thek: Diver, a Retrospective, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (October 31, 2010 – January 9, 2011 and February 5 – May 1, 2011); Curators: Elisabeth Sussman and Lynn Zelevansky

2. Glenn Ligon: AMERICA, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (March 10 – June 5, 2011); Curator: Scott Rothkopf


1. Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977, Dia Art Foundation and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (June 25 – October 31, 2011); Curator: Lynne Cooke

2. Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX (October 22, 2010 – January 30, 2011); Curators: Isabel Schulz and Josef Helfenstein


1. On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, MoMA, New York, NY (November 21 – February 7, 2011); Curators: Connie Butler and Catherine de Zegher

2. Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918-1936, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (October 1, 2010 – January 9, 2011); Curators: Kenneth E. Silver, assisted by Helen Hsu, and Vivien Greene as curatorial advisor


1. The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA, Musée Nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris, France, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (May 21 – September 6, 2011, October 5, 2011 – January 22, 2012, and February 28 – June 3, 2012); Curators: Janet Bishop, Cécile Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow

2. Franz Xaver Messerschmidt 1736-1738: From Neoclassicism to Expressionism, Neue Galerie, New York, NY (September 16, 2010 – January 10, 2011); Curator: Guilhem Scherf

This year’s nominating committee included art critics Eleanor Heartney, Marek Bartelik, Rebecca Cochran, Peter Frank, Francine Miller and Susan Snodgrass.

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Smithsonian chief defends removal of video

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough defended his decision to remove an artist’s video that depicted ants crawling on a crucifix from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, saying a controversy over the short clip threatened to overshadow its first major exhibition on gay themes in art history.

Critics had blasted Clough’s decision as verging on artistic censorship while members of Congress and a Catholic group had complained that the video was sacrilegious.

In his first public response to questions on the issue, Clough said the controversy overshadowed the exhibition and threatened to spiral beyond control into a debate on religious desecration. He said he acted to preserve the overall exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”

“I still believe it was a right decision and I’m still proud that that exhibit is still up and thousands of people are coming and learning what we hoped they would learn from it,” Clough told The Associated Press.

In November, the Catholic League complained that the video, “A Fire in My Belly,” by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, was sacrilegious because of the crucifix clip. The artist’s work explored the subject of AIDS. Wojnarowicz died of complications from the disease in 1992 at age 37.

The exhibit also includes works by major artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Thomas Eakins and Annie Leibovitz, among others. It’s the largest exhibit ever staged by the Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian took down the video the same day complaints were made public. Even though the video was removed, Clough said he still receives e-mails complaining about the exhibit’s overall theme. The show also drew praise from critics.

Clough said he had to consider the Smithsonian’s long-term stability and is expecting “very difficult budget situations” with Congress in coming months because of the federal deficit. About 65 percent of the Smithsonian’s budget comes from public funds.

Clough said he expects the exhibit controversy will come up during budget discussions.

Clough, who took over the Smithsonian’s helm in 2008, has largely avoided controversy. His decision to remove the video, rather than stand for those calling for the exhibit’s academic integrity or free speech, drew rebukes from the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Andy Warhol Foundation and other artists with works in the exhibit.

The former university president said he respects those who disagree with his decision.

“It was a difficult position for me personally because I have been a supporter of free speech everywhere I’ve gone, as well as gay rights, and to be perceived in some other light is a painful experience for me,” he said.

Smithsonian under fire over gay exhibit

The Smithsonian is under fire for removing a video from the groundbreaking gay exhibit “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the National Portrait Gallery.

David Wojnarowicz, a prominent New York City-based gay artist who died of AIDS, created the video in 1987. It depicts Jesus on a crucifix covered with ants. Titled “A Fire in My Belly,” it was intended as a statement about the universal suffering caused by AIDS.

But Christian-right groups condemned the video as “hate speech.” A spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told CBSnews.com that the exhibit was an “outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season.”

Under pressure, Martin Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery director, removed the video on Dec. 1.

“I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious. In fact, the artist’s intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim,” Sullivan said in a statement. “It was not the museum’s intention to offend.”

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee, told Fox News that the entire exhibit was an “in-your-face perversion paid for by tax dollars.”

He and other right-wing lawmakers are waging a high-profile campaign against the exhibit and threatening to pull the Washington gallery’s federal funding after taking over control of the U.S. House in January.

After the crucifix video was removed, art writers and free speech advocates denounced the museum for caving in to censorship. The exhibit is billed as the “first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern portraiture.”

Wendy Olsoff, the co-owner of the PPOW Gallery and the David Wojnarowicz estate, said the uproar reminded her of the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. “It saddened me enormously,” Olsoff told AOL News. “This is about fear, fear of diversity. People are trying to use art to scare the public.”

Michael Ward Stout, president of the Mapplethorpe Foundation, which contributed to the “Hide/Seek” exhibit, said the video removal “amounts to the Christian Right’s idea that they should become curators.”

“The attack is on gayness, and images of it, more than on sacrilege,” Blake Gopnik, an art writer, wrote in The Washington Post. “And the Portrait Gallery has given in to this attack.”

A Washington art gallery pledged a round-the-clock protest against the video’s removal. Transformer Gallery manager Barbara Escobar told the Associated Press that her small, nonprofit gallery will show, “A Fire in My Belly” in its storefront window every day and night until it’s reinstated.

About 75 people joined a silent protest march to the Smithsonian on Dec. 2. They carried pictures of a man with his mouth sewn shut to protest censorship of Wojnarowicz’s art.