The Best in Offensive Jesus Art


Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ got attacked yet again last weekend, as offended Catholic extremists stormed the Avignon museum and destroyed the photographic image of a plastic crucifix in a glass of the artist’s urine… by beating Jesus’s head with a hammer. Hasn’t the poor chap been through enough? On the heels of this most recent art attack, let’s take a look at some of this Christerrific art that raised eyebrows and stirred up angry hoopla.

Andres Serrano said “I have always felt that my work is religious, not sacrilegious,” and even Catholic nun/art critic Sister Wendy agrees, calling the work “inspiring” and “admonitory.” Perhaps the most ironic element of this latest religiously-motivated vandalism is the glass cracking in a halo.

This six-foot tall, 200-pound, 485,460-calorie milk-chocolate body of Jesus Christ by Cosimo Cavallaro could feed masses of miraculous proportions. But, alas, it didn’t work ’cause they waited until My Sweet Lord got all crusty.

Like-minded Russian artist Alexaner Kosolapov offered this pop Americana take on Christ’s transmutation. As part of the Forbidden Art exhibit, the artist almost landed curators Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev in jail under Russia’s confusing censorship laws.

German artist Martin Kippenberger got a tsk-tsk from Pope Benedict himself for his crucified frog-Jesus hybrid in Zuerst die Fuesse (Feet First).

Ron English likens making idols of out corporate mascots to Christian worship, offending both Mickey and Jesus.

Here’s another crucifixion remix from Vagrich Bakhchanyan. The Crucifix, seen here through a peephole as it was exhibited at the notorious Forbidden Art show. This time Lenin is Jesus — a burn to both government and religion.

Russia’s Criminal Code Article 282 that supposedly outlaws “inciting religious hatred” is used quite vigorously to persecute artists. In 2000, Oleg Mavromatti was filming a scene for his film Oil on Canvas in the yard of the Institute of Cultorology in Moscow. Wanted for criminal investigation, he has been living in exile for years.

Here’s another notorious voluntary crucifixion reenactor. London artist and notorious Dandy Sebastian Horsley traveled to the Philippines for the full experience… to prepare himself to paint some works on the topic.

Terrance Koh’s Gone, Yet Still brought out Jesus’s human side in a most pointed way.

Enrique Chagoya’s The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals — especially the image of transsexual Jesus in foreplay — enraged one Kathy Folden into traveling cross-state into the Loveland Museum and destroying the work with a baseball bat.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery buckled to pressure from conservative groups and pulled David Wojnarowicz’s seminal video art piece A Fire In My Belly for their queer art retrospective because of a flash on this ant-covered crucifix.

And yet, despite these efforts, it seems that the imagery is here to stay. Say, something about this David LaChapelle photograph portraying Jesus as a slightly-better illuminated buddy of a tough-looking group individuals looks sacrilegiously familiar…

…Jesus is My Homeboy, the Caravaggio version.