My alma mater, the University of Dallas, has an art exchange program with a non-Catholic university. Well the other university sent over an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a g-string with dollar bills tucked in in a stripper pose. In the name of academic freedom, the University allowed the image to be presented in the on campus gallery. Someone took great offense and removed the piece. Now President Lazarus is furious that the piece is gone. The full story is here.
My first reaction is outrage that Our Lady was presented in such a fashion. My second reaction is that IF the piece was to be allowed, there needed to be a public debate over it. Was the artist trying to make us question how women are victimized by the sex industry? Was she trying to get out of the Dichotomy of Saints and Sinners? The piece is called “Saint or Sinner?” Was it to sacrilege The Mother of God? Outrage Catholics? What was the point?
EDITED: A reader thought I should change the title so as not to offend Our Lady even more. I thought it was a good idea. I left the details in the post, though, because that is what happened.
Also: I spoke with UD’s president, Dr. Lazarus, on the phone. I expressed my dismay over what happened and he emailed me his public statement over the matter. The Statement is not yet posted on the University’s website and I emailed him to tell him it needs to be done ASAP so everyone can read it.
He said when the exhibit first went up he was gone for three days (remember, the art professor is in charge of the exhibit). When he returned he heard about the outrageous image and he went to see it for himself. He agreed that it was offensive and unacceptable, but he was persuaded to keep it by keeping the image isolated from the rest of the exhibit and to have a public discussion over it. The next day, while he was working on his statement about the piece, he discovered it was stolen.
My thoughts: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?