THERE was outrage back in May when the Bolzano museum of modern art in Italy acquired a sculpture by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger depicting a frog on a cross.
Local bishop Wilhelm Egger moaned:
The crucified frog has shocked many visitors and has hurt their religious feelings. Even if this was not the intention of the artist or the Museion, there is a law in place that says religious feelings should be respected.
Today the symbols of Christian faith are often held in contempt, and an exhibition of works like this one does not help to create peace between cultures and religions.
This weekend the row intensified when it was announced that the Pope was is taking a summer break in the mountains of northern Italy at a location close to the Museum – and for that reason Catholics are demanding that the piece, part of Kippenberger’s Fred the Frog series should be removed forthwith.
According to The Times, local Catholics have complained to the police that the work, depicting a warty, pop-eyed amphibian nailed to a cross with a frothing mug of beer in one hand and an egg in the other, is a “public obscenity
The Union for South Tyrol, a separatist group, said it had collected 10,000 signatures for a petition demanding the removal of the crucified frog. Franz Pahl, the president of Trentino-Alto Adige regional council, has even gone on hunger strike in protest over the exhibit.
No frogs’ legs for him, then.
Under pressure from Monsignor Wilhelm Egger, Bishop of Bolzano and Bressanone, the museum curators moved the frog from the museum entrance to the third floor, but have so far refused to remove it altogether. They said the work was not an attack on Christianity but rather a reflection of the artist’s “state of profound crisis” at the time he created it.
Two years ago the Bolzano museum hit the headlines by displaying a work of art consisting of a toilet flushing to the accompaniment of Italy’s national anthem.
Meanwhile, Mediawatchwatch has revealed that British Christian, Emily Mapfuwa, is bringing a private prosecution against the Baltic Gallery in Gateshead, which exhibited Terence Koh’s Jesus with a hard-on.
Legal documents reveal that the charges are that the gallery offended public decency and breached Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. The first hearing is due in September.