Crowbar-Wielding Woman Destroys XXX Jesus Art in a Colorado Museum

Crowbar-Wielding Woman Destroys XXX Jesus Art in a Colorado Museum
The Loveland Museum/Gallery in Loveland, Colorado
(Courtesy the Loveland Museum/Gallery)

When Mexico City-born artist and Stanford professor Enrique Chagoya wrote that his works, "comment on contemporary issues with humor" and "are meant to have an ephemeral life in the artworld," he probably didn’t anticipate that the ephemeral life of his newest work — a controversial comic series that features a bosomy Jesus receiving cunnilingus — would be ended by a savage crowbar attack. That, however, is exactly what happened to "The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals," a 12-panel lithograph that was torn to a shredded pulp by an enraged woman who smashed her way through the piece’s protective Plexiglass case in a Colorado art museum yesterday afternoon.

Kathleen Folden, a truck driver who hails from Kalispell, Montana, destroyed the 7.5-by-90-inch accordion-fold color print, which offered a grab bag of provocative imagery, from a depiction of Lincoln and Washington printing erotic scenes on money to an Islamic prophet kneeling before bikini-clad pigs to Mexican ethnic stereotypes. The most attention-grabbing image, however, appears on the final panel, in which scruffy man performs oral sex on a dress-wearing Jesus while red lettering blares "ORGASM." (Somehow the prophet-and-pigs panel seems to have gone overlooked, but that's Colorado for you.) Folden is now in custody on a charge of criminal mischief, a felony for which she could face fines of $1,000-2,000 if convicted, Denver’s 9News reports.

 

Wearing a shirt that read "Tougher Than Nails!", the 56-year-old Folden entered the Loveland Museum/Gallery around 4 p.m. and, after intently staring at the contested work, began hacking at its case while yelling, "How can you desecrate my Lord?" While others in the museum mistakenly believed that a gun had been fired, some brave gallerygoers subdued Folden, who cut herself while attacking the lithograph.

"I ran over there and by the time I got there she had reached in and grabbed the print and was ripping it up," art dealer Mark Michaels told 9News, "so I pulled her away from the print and put her in the corner and then the police came."The work, which has been on display in Loveland since September 11, had inspired protests all week, with citizens picketing the museum with signs that read, "No Tax Dollars for Pornography" and "This Is A Hate Crime."

One of the most vociferous dissenters is city councilman Daryle Klassen, who has called the work "smut," and demanded its removal. "If you go to a XXX-rated movie at least they have the decency to put a sign out of the theater, letting you know this is what you will see," Klassen told Mercury News on Wednesday. "I'd like to see something like that, a warning, placed at the museum in this case."The print, however, hung for four months last year in the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver without any felonious repercussions.

"My intention has never been to offend anybody," Chagoya told the Associated Press. "I critique the institutions and my disagreements with the way the church corrupts the spiritual." He allowed that some "people might disagree with my views, my art."