The Best in Offensive Jesus Art?

Ron-English-mickey-mouse-christ

This image, suggesting Crucifixion is all Mickey Mouse, comes to you courtesy of The Best in Offensive Jesus Art, a collection of postChristian artistic antagonism.

To me it confirms my conviction that shock value has a limited shelf life and fuels enui in the long run.

In short, my ‘offense’ was limited to mild annoyance. Of the sort I experience when my kids fail to flush the toilet. If these artists were aiming for a deeper reaction they failed.

Question: have you ever been deeply offended by art?

Artist: Ron English

HT: Arthur Davis

7 Comments

  1. Annoyed when it reflects immaturity, insensitivity, unnecessary offensiveness, ignorance, bigotry or thoughtlessness.
    For instance, Piss Jesus was shock art designed to offend and “piss off” Christians. I don’t agree that it was done for more honorable reasons. The artist had to know it would offend, just as it would be naive to think that if I put a picture of Jesus in the clouds in a bucket of dog-shit and posted it on the web, I would do it thinking it would never unnecessarily offend anyone.
    Good art can offend. It can be designed to offend for good reasons (e.g. as a form of prophetic critique to advance social justrice). But when it offends, it does so necessarily.
    And I am pretty tired of “shock jocks”, whether they are preachers or creative artists.
    Is their real intention to draw people’s attention to themselves, by manipulating people’s fears and emotions about issues?
    I suspect it comes from an underlying narcissitic attitude toward themselves? Who is it all about anyway when it come to the bottom line? Where is the focus of the attention?

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  2. Of course the most offensive images of Jesus were those featured in the unspeakably vile sado-masochistic snuff-splatter film The Passion by Mel Gibson.
    They were and are truly offensive in the grossest possible way – completely degrading.
    What is offensive about the image you have featured?
    I find it quite delightful and humorous. It also communicates happiness.
    Mickey Mouse was and is the most recognizable secular Icon of Happiness in the 2oth Century.
    Mickey Mouse, simply Radiating, is an Icon. Compare him to the Icons of the Russian and Greek orthodox churches, the Icons of blissful faces and halos.
    Mickey Mouse is even more powerful because he is obviously communicating Happiness, and because he has no fixed religious associations. No matter what he was doing Mickey Mouse was always exuberantly happy.
    Mickey Mouse is in a state of brilliant equanimity – the sahasrar completely Awakened. His central nervous system is completely Awakened, liberated from bondage to the humorless mortal vision, Realized in the Transcendental Radiance. That is what Mickey Mouse is.
    Not much happiness or Awakened Radiance to be found in The Passion by comparison.

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  3. Having said what I said, I actually don’t mind the humour in the Mickey Mouse piece.
    Have seen Homer Simpson equivalent.

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  4. it would be fair to say that i am most deeply offended by much of what i find that passes as ‘artistic’ in a place like koorong rather than in anything specifically attacking others’ beliefs?
    it seems to me that the trivialisation of beliefs from the inside is far far worse than an attack from the outside. an attack of beliefs, in some way, validates them. trivialisation, or obvious misinterpretation, from the inside (as can be seen in any number of images – especially the superhero jesus and end times things you post on this blog, matt), opens truth up to mockery in a way that is often difficult to defend for those of us who don’t view the bible in such a way.
    as to the artists, i’m a high school art teacher by day (in a christian school), and my year 12s each year start with an in depth study of serrano’s ‘piss christ’. undoubtedly serrano intended shock, but his point is very valid (particularly in terms of the form of catholicism he grew up with). and the work itself has such incredible beauty. it’s not too difficult to help 17 year olds (with christian backgrounds) see the intrinsic worth of the artwork.
    ron english is an awesome artist. his ronald mcdonald image for the supersize me movie is probably his most famous work, but his images consistently critique capitalist culture, which i would read the above mickey mouse work as doing more than attacking christianity.

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  5. it would be fair to say that i am most deeply offended by much of what i find that passes as ‘artistic’ in a place like koorong rather than in anything specifically attacking others’ beliefs?
    it seems to me that the trivialisation of beliefs from the inside is far far worse than an attack from the outside. an attack of beliefs, in some way, validates them. trivialisation, or obvious misinterpretation, from the inside (as can be seen in any number of images – especially the superhero jesus and end times things you post on this blog, matt), opens truth up to mockery in a way that is often difficult to defend for those of us who don’t view the bible in such a way.
    as to the artists, i’m a high school art teacher by day (in a christian school), and my year 12s each year start with an in depth study of serrano’s ‘piss christ’. undoubtedly serrano intended shock, but his point is very valid (particularly in terms of the form of catholicism he grew up with). and the work itself has such incredible beauty. it’s not too difficult to help 17 year olds (with christian backgrounds) see the intrinsic worth of the artwork.
    ron english is an awesome artist. his ronald mcdonald image for the supersize me movie is probably his most famous work, but his images consistently critique capitalist culture, which i would read the above mickey mouse work as doing more than attacking christianity.

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  6. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see some of the trash people buy in Koorong. If you follow this link you’ll see I’ve written quite a few articles and comments on the corrosiveness of sentimentality and the artistic superficiality that flows from it:
    http://mattstone.blogs.com/.services/blog/6a00d8341bffb053ef01127965a2c828a4/search?filter.q=sentimentality
    Reading the Mickey Mouse Jesus as an attack on capitalist culture is an interesting line of thought. If that was his intention I think the message was somewhat lost in the medium though. I can think of a few other works that I feel do that more effectively.

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  7. yeah – i think even ron english himself has probably done it better with other works in that series, in terms of critiquing capitalism with mickey mouse – http://www.popaganda.com/blog16.php/mickey-mouse-1/
    but artists work in series, not in one-off missives, so that’s to be expected.
    and i think any image of the crucifix in contemporary culture should normally be read as symbolic of the institution of religion. that is what most people (outside the church, which is most people) see it as. so if you can read the images in that way, as an attack on institution, then i think that most christians with at least a vague notion of what the bible is actually about (think of jesus vs the church leaders, the o.t. prophets vs the bad kings, etc etc), would find they end up agreeing with most of these artworks that appear, superficially, to be offensive.

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