There are plenty of ways to send Christians into a froth-mouthed rage, but artist Cosimo Cavallaro seems to have struck upon an intriguingly brand new one – he's made a life-sized chocolate statue of Jesus being crucified with his balls out.
Cavallaro's chocolate Jesus statue – titled My Sweet Lord – was all set to be exhibited at the Lab Gallery in New York this week, but after a flurry of outrage from high-ranking Catholics, seemingly furious that an artist has insinuated that Jesus had normal genitalia, the chocolate Jesus show has been cancelled. It's undoubtedly a disappointment for Cosimo Cavallaro, though, who didn't even have time to pump the chocolate Jesus full of Cadbury's Creme Egg filling so that delicious fondant squirted out of his crucifixion wounds.
Despite being dead for a few thousand years, Jesus is still in high demand with rubbish Jesus films being made all the time, rappers dressing as Jesus for magazines, old ladies copying Jesus for cash and movie directors digging up all sorts of Jesus coffins whenever the mood takes them. But Christians don't seem to appreciate all this Jesus talk, and routinely appear to garble outraged soundbites whenever anything like this happens. Sometimes the outrage is reasonable – when Tom Cruise was compared to Jesus, for example – and sometimes it makes them look slightly foolish, like when they tried to sue The Da Vinci Code. But nothing has polarised opinion more that Cosimo Cavallaro's chocolate Jesus.
Up until now, the only person famous enough to warrant a life-sized chocolate statue was Elton John, but he's been superseded by Jesus, who is slightly more famous despite not having written Honky Cat. We're taking a wild stab in the dark here, but we're guessing that by making a chocolate statue of Jesus being crucified, Cosimo Cavallaro was making a sincere statement about how the various religious aspects of the Easter holidays have been steadily eroded by chocolate egg-led materialism in recent years. In hindsight, however, Cosimo would have probably got his point across better if he hadn't stuck a big cock on the front of the Jesus statue, because it's caused something of a shitstorm that's resulted in the exhibition being cancelled. ABC reports:
A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday after Cardinal Edward Egan and other outraged Catholics complained. The "My Sweet Lord" display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Roger Smith Hotel president James Knowles cited the public outcry for his decision… But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as "a sickening display." Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."
As a protest about the cancellation of the chocolate Jesus exhibition, the creative director of the Lab gallery has resigned in protest as what he sees as a "strong-arming" by people jumping to conclusions about an artwork they've never seen, including several distinctly unchristian death threats against gallery workers and Cavallaro.
But perhaps it isn't the chocolate Jesus' penis that's causing so much outrage – after all, that's a problem that you can fix with a hairdryer – but the material of the statue. Jesus wasn't made of chocolate in real life, you see; we've been to a Catholic church and so we know that Jesus was a giant walking loaf of bread with booze for blood. In the name of Easter, we hope that the angry Catholics and Cosimo Cavallaro can put their differences aside and create a compromise; one that keeps fans of both chocolate Jesus and bread Jesus happy. Perhaps a statue of Jesus made of a pain au chocolat or a big Nutella sandwich.