Monday, January 28, 2008

Chris Ofili Holy Virgin Mary... Your Opinion


Please read Chapter 4 for homework. Next, I'd like for you to reflect this week on the lecture. What is your opinion about Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin"? Do you think it is "sick stuff" as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani described, or do you think Ofili raised an important point with the piece in the way he brought beauty and decorativeness together with ugliness? Do you think Ofili demonstrated the many complex factors that go into a judgement of art's value? Do you think government money should go to exhibitions with works that might be offensive to some citizens? You should decide? Why? Please give at least a paragraph reflection.

59 comments:

Rey said...

My opinion on Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is similar to Giuliani's comment of "sick stuff." I'm not a religion freak but I am a Catholic. This "art" is not beautiful at all. How can a catholic person make a protrait of the Virgin Mary using "shit" as a tool? He also contradicts his religious beliefs by adding porn pictures to what he calls beauty. You cant make beauty with shit period.
Ofili did demonstrate the complex factors that go into an artwork's judgement, but he did it using the worst possible materials. I dont believe that government money should go to exhibitions that might be offensive to some citizens because the blame would go back to the government, by them funding the projects.

Savannah said...

When I first saw ,"The Holy Virgin," I thought it looked like Lilo from the movie Lilo & Stitch. I also did not recognize the breast as a breast until we read it in class. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder because I personally I would not call this piece beautiful.
I think the piece is a good expression of the artist, Chris Ofili. I don't consider it "sick" art because again it is just Ofili's expression. I think it is okay to bring together ugliness and beauty but i don't think he should ahve used the Virgin Mary.
I believe Ofili did put many complex factors together such as beauty, ugliness, cow poo, porn, and resin, but again he shouldn't have used the Virgin Mary.
On the money issue I think that is okay for the government to fund the artists because what may be offensive to me may not be offensive to you. We really wouldn't know who would be offended unless we saw it.
I believe the only people who should censor art are parents from their children.
However, I'm sure there are a few in this class who like this piece art, I however do not.

Jessica said...

I personally don't like it. It is not from a religious point of view or any thoughts of controversy but rather that I just don't like it. As an illustrator, I am of the more conservative views of art and when it comes to more modern political art, I don't have much of a stomach for it. Of course, it doesn't help also that it is rather ugly in its appearance to me and religious.

However, I think Giuliani over dramatized his repulsion at the “blasphemous” piece. Why? Because that just makes him a hypocrite. Any man who would bring his mistress into the same home as his wife and children is not someone who should be standing on a soapbox trying to censor somebody's art despite if they like it or not. A man that contradicting should be more conscious to the ideas of other cultures and the fact that it may represent something other than the obvious. Art generally does.

I do think Ofili did. I don't like the piece but there was a lot of thought put into it and I, beyond a lot of people, know that part of the main value of a piece is the time spent on all the final little details in art. It is one of those pieces that makes you wonder; it wasn't done randomly. When you leave an exhibit having seen a piece of art hopefully it makes you want research why he did what he did. The fact that he used the Virgin Mary, I believe, was just another way to create outrage. It didn't for me because, well, I'm an agnostic more inclined towards being an atheist. I don't have the motivation to do soul searching to see if there is something else out there. To me, the Virgin Mary is just another subject in art made legend by the painters of the Italian and Northern Renaissance whom are masters I studied.

In the world, and especially in America, something will always offend somebody. Art is an emotional experience and if you cry outrage against it, here's a secret- the artist has won. I don't think the government should try to take funding from allowing controversial pieces up. If they do, it will go up anyways because artists and those who enjoy it are resourceful.

To conclude, art is controversial and just because not everybody agrees or likes it doesn't mean it should be censored.

-Jessica Montgomery

Willie said...

Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin," is a piece that uses interesting methods to establish a unique texture. The fact that this artist was able to take something as universally repulsive as doodie and make it something that atleast some can find beauty in. I believe that it is unfair to censor anything even if some people may get offended. If you censor one thing it isn't fair because anything could potentally offend someone. Our government should fund any exhibit that is culturally enriching.

mwacaser said...

The controverseal painting of the "Holy Virgin Mary" by Chris Ofili is a piece of work that stirrs up alot of anger. Giuliani said it was bad and i have to agree with him due to the fact that Ofili uses porn to portray the virgin Mary. However i believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should move on and deal with it rather they like it or not.
As far as government funding for art, i think that is absolutely ridiculous. Art is either someones hobby or source of income (job). Why should the government give me money to go fishing on the weekends its ludacris. However they should spend money on art in school. For example elementary art class supplies.

~Matt Wacaser

KELLY HAYES said...

The great thing about this country is the right to freedom of speech which allows us to express our selves no matter who it pisses off. On that note I hated the piece which by some is concerned art. Being raised catholic, just hearing Ms. Hoffman describe the picture turned my stomach. Even if you were not catholic how you like would it if someone used pictures of asses and shit to draw your mother. I think that the government should continue to help artist, because art is important to the society let just hope there’s not a lot more art like this one.

-Kelly Hayes

brist_ill said...

Well, there's always going to be some sort of uproar when something new or different comes along, and this is one of those cases. Ofili's rendition of the Virgin Mary is completely original and some people just weren't ready to see a holy figure portrayed in this manner. I believe it's a great painting and has all the key elements of a classic. Vibrant colors, eye catching forefront art, and the style of the painter shown on the canvas. When religion comes into play in any media, there's usually going to be some sort of stir to cause controversy, and "The Holy Virgin" did so. His idea was different from mostly everyone else's so he just put what he thought looked proper into action. America is supposed to be a free country, so he used his freedom to create.

Brittney said...

In my opinion I think that this piece of art By Chris Ofili is "sick stuff." I am a catholic and I feel that most catholics and Christians view Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Spirit as the most sacred thing in the world. For someone to portray an image of the Virgin Mary using cow poo and pornographic pictures is absolutely unacceptable.

I definately think that Chris Ofili demonstrated the complex factors that go into the judgement of art's value. This piece can be viewed by many people as beauty mixed with ugliness. However, in my opinion it is absurd to portray beauty and ugly as one, using the Virgin Mary as the focal point, especially using the type of ugly, pornographic pictures and cow poop, to make the distinction. There are many different ways in which Chris Ofili could have mixed beauty with ugly.

I feel that our government should fund these exhibits because just because its offending to me, doesn't make it offending to others. Art is portrayed to each person differently.

Rachel Hoffman said...

Make sure you are reading your book and listening to the lecture ya'll... it is "elephant dung".. not cow pooh. That fact is relevant to the conceptual meaning of the work. Keep on blogging!

Thanks,
Rachel

Ayesha said...

My opinion towards Chris Ofili's "The holy virgin" is that I don't like it at all and I do consider it "sick sutff". To me, I personally don't see any beauty or decorativeness brought by the pornographic pictures or elephant dung. Every person has their own point of view on art, so I wouldn't say that government money shouldn't go to exibitions with this type of work because some people might actually find some sort of beauty or meaning while others might take it offensively.Ofili probably did demonstrate complex factors but didn't do it in a good way. I don't see his painting being a delicate abstraction and I think that if he wanted beauty to exist in a twilight zone, then he could have used something else other then shit. Overall I don't see any beauty what so ever in this piece of art.
-Ayesha Munaf

Tyler<>Ellis said...

When I first saw Chris Ofili’s Virgin Mary, I thought it was a pretty boring piece of art. After reading about it I found out what it truly stood for and I was disgusted with what I saw. I am Baptist and we look at the Virgin Mary a little different than catholic’s but that doesn’t matter. The mere sight of PORN AND ELEPHANT DUNG in the same picture as the person that gave birth to Jesus is horrible. Ofili did use complex factors in this art and it made for an ugly picture.

On the other hand I could care less if government money went to this exhibit because you can make your own decision weather or you want to go. Giuliani simply over stepped his boundaries with this situation.

-Tyler Ellis

Ashley Marie said...
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Ashley Marie said...

The entire point for having art in the first place was to be able to express yourself in ways that sometimes words just are not suffice. On top of being a way for expression, art is a way to be controversial and protest things around you by stirring conversation and conflicting the "norm". Most famous artists were so ahead of their time and controversial they were literally "nobodies" until after their deaths, and now they are revered for their creativeness and creating beauty out of everyday things.

Chris Ofilli's rendition of "the Holy Virgin Mary" does just that, he takes things that are a part of the modern persons everyday life and tries to express himself by creating controversy. To me what I find interesting is that, what people do get outraged about is not HOW he portrayed the virgin mary, as a large robust black woman, but instead, the things he used to create this artwork.

As far as art shows and exhibits getting funding from the government even if they will offend citizens, i see no wrong. Art is a form of expression therefore someone somewhere will dissagree. Some people like the Mona Lisa others could care less, people in NY during the Gates Project were offended due to the intrusion on nature, yet the city did not take it down(although not publicly funded the public was forced to view it).


Ashley Fawcett

Matt B. said...

My opinion of the Holy Virgin Piece by Chris Ofili is as Giuliani described it, "sick stuff." I think it is repulsive and down right desterbing. How can someone that takes there religous beliefs so seriously use porn in his pieces of art? I do not think that a religious person would use such grafic materials. As far as government funding art I think that is ridiculous. Art is something people do for fun or to make money not something that the government should fund for.

-Matt Brookens

taylor.w.ward said...

Really I find the peice to be pretty ingenius. If art is after all about expression; then I do believe "The Holy Virgin" was a success. Sure it may lack an asthetic appreciation for most; nevertheless I think the message is great. To quote REY (the very first comment on this blog.)"I'm not a religion freak but I am a Catholic." Saying that you do not possess a religious fervor as a practicing Catholic may be perhaps what Ofili was trying to comment on. It is evidently a lampoon on the "Holy" mother, and the church in general. Ofili thinks what it stands for is bullshit, or elephant shit for that matter. (Also, perhaps the use of elephant feces as a median was a stab at the religious, republican, idiots taht run this country.) In conclusion the goverment should fund all art regardless of questionable religious intent, because as we all so quickly forget there is an amazing right called "seperation of church and state" so keep your religious opinions out of what the treasury should of should not do.


P.S. Please stop saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesnt make you sound impartial, as much as it makes you sound uneducated.

Daniel Abbott said...
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Daniel Abbott said...

When I look at the piece “The Holy Virgin” I do not consider it either “sick stuff” or beautiful. I consider it a piece of art work that I would barely glance at. I can see why the painting will offend some people and they have every right to protest. With that said, Chris Ofili has every right to paint and play with elephant dung. While Giuliani was expressing his feelings about the painting I am sure someone expressed a counter attack and just didn’t make a headline.

As for the government funding exhibitions that may be offensive to some people, there may not be a solution. Different people are offended in many different ways and it would be next to impossible to set guidelines on what to fund. I would rather see my tax money go to a different cause, but maybe some people felt that way about the Vietnam wall.



Dan

Ashli said...

In my opinion, Chris Ofili's art work is very interesting. I feel the opposite of most people when it comes to the fact that he decided to use shit and porn to make his masterpiece. I feel that any person who calls themselves an 'artist', is labeled as an artist because of their unique ideas when it comes to making art. Ofilis piece of art may be a little out of the ordinary for most people but I happen to love things that are different. I suppose it comes down to the public needing to be a bit open minded like me, when they see a piece of work like this. As far as the religious aspect, I don't believe it is offensive at all. I was raised Catholic and the art does not upset me when I think of it in a religious way, it is just art and its up to the viewer to look at it in a way to help them comprehend the meaning of the piece of work. Also, the government should help to fund any piece of art regardless of the different views people may have because everyone has a different opinion. Art is suppose to express feelings and the government should not get in the way of someone expressing themselves.

Samantha Fritzsche said...

I have always been a firm believer in "Freedom of Speech", but this art piece by Chris Ofili takes it a bit too far. When I think of Art I think of something that is beautiful and elegant, this painting is nothing to be proud of, but, to be ashamed of. Personally I feel that government should not fund something that is going to upset so many people the way that this piece of art does. Like I said before, I am a firm believer in "freedom of speech" but this is piece of art is just ridiculous!

Efe Bulutoglu said...

I agree with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, I think that Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary"? is sick stuff. I think it is fine to bring beauty and ugliness together, but I don’t see any beauty or decorativeness in this art, I personally think that in this piece, it is just stupid to describe beauty using Virgin Mary image with something that is not even relevant and absurd. Mary is somebody that is important and sacred for almost everybody in the world. I think that in art, You can use the values that are important and sacred for everybody to make a beautiful art, but you cannot use these important values with porn and stuff. You have to respect the global beliefs and should not cross the lines.
Efe Bulutoglu

alharrell said...

I don't think it is "sick stuff". In my opinion no one can deem a peice of work "sick stuff". There is art that is pleasing to the eye and there is art that may offend some. It all depends on who you are and your values. Those whose values respect Mary maybe offended. But had it been Jesus or Buddah or some other respected person the reaction may be different. I dont find it beautiful and I certainly wouldnt stand infront of it and study it but I do believe it has worth; just not to me.

I find it intriguing how he puts beauty together with ugliness. I personally would not have done it that way but we're all have our different styles.

I cant say that all citizens should pay for art to be displayed because each peice has its own value but if I were offended I wouldnt want to pay for it to be displayed. However it would bve way too hard for everyone to pick which peices theyd pay for to display. Thts where private funding could come in handy Id say...

Carrie Wright said...

When I look at this painting, I personally do find it discusting and offensive. I was raised Catholic and we do hold Mary as a sacred symbol and this painting is just pushing the envelope, which after reading the chapter,was his point. He clearly states he wanted to create "a twilight zone, bringing together beauty and ugliness, you know they are together but you can't feel comfortable about it". Well, mission accomplished. To be honest the whole painting to me is ugly, the colors, the shapes, the little butts everywhere, and not to be forgotten, the elephant poop. I am definately not a fan.

D. Hodges said...

I find "The Holy Virgin" fantastic in every sense of the word. Not only does this piece invoke thought but the thought of a man resining globs of elephant dung just brings a smile to my face. This peace may not be the most beautiful artwork in the world but it isn't "sick stuff" as Giuliani so described it.I believe that Ofili was using symbolism for every medium he used. although the exact meaning of it all i cant seem to grasp.

The Government should fund all art, because art is a tool to invoke thought, educate, and widen the minds of those who see it. if funding was removed from showings that contained "offensive" pieces would cause a need to remove funding from libraries that had books that may be offensive. Art is just that, its art, it is what it is. If the culture wishes to grow there must be at least tolarance for all types.

Natalie said...

I find this piece of art very interesting. At first glance, I didn't notice the unorthodox materials that Ofili used in the painting. I thought the breast was a polished rock. I hadn't even noticed the two clumps of dung at the bottom of the painting. Even the pornographic images appeared to me as flowers. I saw them as orchids whose colors had been manipulated. Overall, I wasn't very receptive to the painting only because of the style in which she was painted.
However, when I took a closer look at the painting, it caught my interest. I thought it was beautiful how my eyes had fooled me initially. Regardless of my disgust for the materials used and the distasteful pornography, I really appreciate this piece of art because Ofili dared to create outside of the acceptable. This piece of art, in my mind, truly encompasses creativity. What I thought was especially ingenious was his use of the pornographic pictures as putti. It made me laugh even through my disgust. Ofili took the gall as an artist and challenge his audience to perceive these materials collectively as a work of art.
It's only natural that there was such a controversy surrounding this piece. I don't believe that we as a society are receptive to perceiving things in a different context. We are set in our ways like stone. However, no matter how reserved our thoughts are, I don't believe that the government should have tried to regulate the museum for showing this piece. Obviously, there was some artistic merit seen in this piece to have it even be selected for viewing.

W.Orejuela said...

I believe Ofili’s is authentic and controversial in the making of “The Holy Virgin” painting. I personally don’t like but I respect his approached by using controversial material like porn graphics and elephant dung which I consider to be a natural resource. Indeed, he is an original artist and the creator of a unique piece of art. I don’t believe the government should provide money for art exhibitions because judgment of what is good and bad maybe on their hands. Therefore, it should be a private organization that specialized in art to support and censored artist.

Petit Monde said...

Without even knowing all the fine points of the piece and just by looking at it, I have already formed an impression that this is not going to be one of my favorites. Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin does not quite fit into the contemporary abstract style of art that I am usually fascinated with. After learning a little bit more of the details such as the usage of pornographic images and elephant dung, it made me not like the piece even more. I would go as far as considering it “sick stuff” and definitely would say that it is distasteful in my opinion. This is not how I would like the Virgin to be portrayed.

Art is limitless and thus provides the artist the liberty to express themselves any way they pleased to whether I like it or not. With that being said, I think that the government should continue supporting art programs regardless if the work may be offensive to some citizens because chances are, there will be people who would actually appreciate it.

Alex Santos said...
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sara said...

In my opinion, I dont find Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin in any way attractive. I dont think that a religous figure should be portrayed in such a manner. Yes, art is a form of expressing ones self however, religion is a very sensitive subject and the artist must consider how such a piece can be offensive to many people.

I do agree with Giuliani when he described this piece as "sick stuff." I think there are plenty of other ways to portray religious pieces of art in a beautiful and widely accepted way.

As far as government funding goes for art such as this, I believe government money should not go towards exhibitions with pieces that are offensive to the majority of citizens.

-sara kadoura

Dustin said...

Art work is made not for everyone but only a select few. Chris Ofili's work is not beautiful in my opinion. It is not sick stuff as Rudolph Giuliani describes but unique. It is unique by the way it was made and what it is suppose to represent. It is pertaining to certain group of people that I do not know of. Art can be made from anything whether it is poop or porn pictures. The value of art will vary with different people and when it is viewed it is always under judgement. Government money should go to exhibitions in order to help promote culture. The problem is that they are expecting works like Leonardo da Vinci or Vincent van Gogh. Art does not pertain to just an individual but groups. Just because one piece of work is not liked does not mean the whole exhibition is the same. Art has more then one meaning and should be looked at many angles before judgement.

Alex Santos said...

Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin disgusted me. I believe Mayor Giuliani's comment of "sick stuff" was put lightly. However, I have to give credit though. I have never seen a piece of art where elephant dung, pornographic pictures are together. But using the Virgin Mary was uncalled for. If it was Hillary Clinton then OK, I would probably enjoy this painting. As for government money towards this painting, its considered a piece of art and it deserves its fair share of money. I’m sure many of you enjoyed this art as well as others that go to this art gallery each day. Personally it’s just not my kind of art!

-Alex Santos

Krista Byrd said...

In my opinion, Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is easily deceptive. the elephant dung did not originally appear to me as that, i thought it was just polished pieces of rock or at the bottom i thought it was wood. while i am a christian and think that she should be respected, it kind of makes me think that perhaps the artist saw more to the virgin mary. since he was catholic, perhaps he saw the bad things she had to be surrounded by to give birth to Jesus, such as animal feces. and while the pornographic images may seem crude, as they cascade around her simaler to flowers, i almost see it as that the artist saw all of the bad things that would surround her life, the life of her son, and the people that her son died for.
so while i think that the peice did use an unorthadox way of showing it,as you wouldnt think of pushpins and glitterglue and dung to be considered art, maybe thats what art really is, using what surrounds you to create something that will spark conversation and thought.
and while the government probably had more important things to lend the money to, i think that sponsoring art, controversial or not, should happen. in america, we should be able to see something and judge it for ourselves, not have the government shield our eyes like we are children. if it is offensive, stay home.

Aaron M said...

When I first saw Ofili's painting, I didn't notice all the female pelvic regions, nor did I know about the use of dung. After reading about it in the chapter, I was a little shocked, but not completely repulsed like those guys in New York. Art is about expression, even if it contains pornographic images and elephant dung. However, Ofili may have gone about using these things the wrong way when he chose his subject as The Virgin Mary. I think the government should fund exhibitions like this because it allows the viewers to see things, such as beauty from another perspective. The key to this is to have a world view on the subject, just because it's not beautiful to you culture, it doesn't mean that another culture doesn't see the beauty in the work. I don't know Ofili's past history in art, but maybe he shouldn't have used such a controversial subject for such a large exhibition. Maybe he should have waited to gain some muscle in the art world before showing a piece like this off.

Jonathan H. said...

"The Holy Virgin" is an interesting piece of art to me. It has very uncommon and common art materials that were used to make this work of art. Ofili's use of elephant dung was something that is a bit odd to be used as an art supply, but who says that you have to use just paint. As for the picture itself, it is very abstract and did not cause me to think of anything religious. In conclusion I can't say if I do or do not like this picture. I like the use of uncommon materials, but the actual picture doesn't catch much of an interest in me at all.

Jonathan H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jesse said...

There are many diffrent preceptions of what we call art. A piece may disgust some while enlighting other in the same process. My perception of Guliani is that hes an idiot and the world could really care less about what he has to say. He has an opinion just like the other 20 million of us do. Ofili created this piece as an abstract artwork interlacing beauty and elements we dont see as so beautiful. Although it may heve been a little over the top with the porno and doodoo, its art and it certainly wasnt made to be politicaly correct. We pay taxes for many different things and some of these things we dont personally agree with. So when art is displayed publicly and the funds used to sponsor the event come from the tax payers pockets not all are going to agree with the decision. But thats why we live in America, a country run by democracy. I personally wouldnt have displayed this particular piece due to the religious contraversy surrounding it, but just as we have the right to dispay it, we have the right to express how horribly insensitive and disgaceful we may think it is.

Abby said...

At first glance of Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary" I was very taken aback by it. I was born and raised Catholic and this depiction of the Holy Mary is revolting and sacraligious to my religion...and what further more incensed me was learning that Ofili himself was raised Catholic. Now knowing this, I was quite baffled as to why a born and raised catholic would create such a work of "art" knowing full well the sin of defiling the Virgin Mary would bring upon his soul as well as the controversary it would present to the world. However, after much reflection, I realized that Controversary! was Ofli's point... In a growing world of art he raised the question on what is taboo? and what isn't? Should we censor certain "art-forms" just because the aren't the norm? and make people feel uncomfortable?.. As far as being daring enough to push the envelope so to speak, I felt Chris Ofili was absolute brilliant! Who are we to say what is art?.. or what is acceptable for the public to see? In my opinion we should put all art on display. Sure! let the public see it. Let us keep our freedom of speech, our freedoms of expression! This is what America is all about! Now I may not agree with Chris Ofli from a religious stand-point but from an artistic stand-point he rocked! who would have thought to use elephant dung and porn to make a work of art? I felt he was amazingly creative but more importantly he made you think. To me, thats a true artist!

Turko said...

I find this painting disgusting, the use of elephant dung for the virgin marys name and breast is just wrong. To me there is nothing beautiful about this. I don't understand how the painter can possibly be a raised a catholic and paint something that that makes fun of their religion. I too am catholic and in no way find this beautiful or amusing because this is the lady that gave birth to Jesus and the elephant dung I think just sends it over the edge. I think its awesome tho that dennis heiner smeared white paint across the art work.

Tynesia said...

"The Holy VIrgin" in my opinion was a great piece. Chris Ofili did a great job making the art symbolic. The artist really went against the norm of the way others viewed the The Virgin Mary by giving features to the portrait that was unheard of.The textures he used for instance the elephant dunn as her breast was a good representaion of nutrience. Government money is now spent in ways that people find offensive so why start at questioning art. I think that everyone is just to uptight on trying to be so p/c that they dont get a chance to get a deeper meaning of things.

Leana said...

At first sight of Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary”, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Did he suffer from a traumatic childhood?”, “Was he brought up as a Catholic against his will?”, “Is this an attempt at rebellion against what was “supposed to be believed”?”
Or was he intentionally trying to push everyone’s buttons? No publicity is bad publicity and this just might have been his exact objective from all this controversy. Chances are, he knew good and well what type of commotion this would instigate and the disarray it would stir. People will begin to wonder, and ask: Why? They’ll want to talk to him, interview him, and have discussions about him. Perhaps he’d even attain the very desired “15 minutes of fame” that every artist strives for.

I pushed aside my first impression however and continued on to conduct more research. I found that he’s a very well-known, talented, and educated British artist of Nigerian heritage. I looked at some of his other work, and found him not to be some random artist who’s just out to obtain familiarity among people. And, to my relief, he isn’t a perverted man manifesting his psychological issues through his art.

Upon coming to the conclusion that he is, by social standards, sane, I began to wonder what was going through his mind for him to create such a piece? Although I didn’t find the painting attractive whatsoever, perhaps it was an aim at combining what is generally thought of as beautiful and holy and what is generally thought of as disgustingly forward into a form of art. And he succeeded in doing so. It may hit a nerve seeing as to how religion is such a sensitive topic to many. Nonetheless, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is entitled to express themselves freely, whether it’s through their artwork, their actions, or their words. What is the purpose of our freedom of speech, if not to get away with actions like these?

M. Thompson said...

I believe that Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is not "sick stuff" as Mayor Giulani did. But I dont really think he raised an important point by mixing decorativeness with ugliness. However, his use of pornographic images and Elephant feces was very interesting,and it was a very unique way to express himself. I believe government money should go to exhibits that may be offensive. The money is endorsing the artist and their right to freedom of expression. I think it is ok for the government to support artists even if their work may be offensive. If people are offended by a piece art, then they shouldn't look at it or they shouldn't attend the exhibit.

-Matt Thompson

Cory Broussard said...

"The Holy Virgin" by Crhis Ofili is an artwork created to promote discussion and to be viwed publicly. I do not like this artwork because it is missing a sense of feeling to me. The collaged parts of the picture seem unnescessary to me and clutter the painting. As others agree, I would not have known the poo nipple to be a nipple, and I am not offended or intrigued by it one bit.

When Mayor Guliani reffered to this as "sick stuff" and tried to get tax funds withdrawn from artist funding, I was appalled. I am a firm believer that the freedom of speech and should not be punished by the government. If artwork does not appeal asthetically to me I try to find the history behind it, if I do not find the history appealing, ie. Religion I tend to forget the artwork completely and find something I enjoy.

I would neither pay for this artwork, or hang up a free poster of it upon my walls.

I do respect the right of an artist to make a statement in his craft, I enjoy many political pieces, and realistic representations, surealistic or abstract, but in regards to "The Holy Virgin Mary" I find it completely forgettable and unworthy of recognition beside the complaining politicians. Congratulations to Chris Ofili for accomplishing his goals of contoversy.

Catt said...

I do not agree that Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is sick stuff. I think it is a complex work of art, created with a medium that may offend some people. I do not believe, however, the the medium is the message, nor that this painting is pornographic - it was created to make you think. Obviously, it has done just that. Art affects people in many different ways, but I strongly believe that art is an expression of what is inside the artist. We do not have to agree with the artisit, nor like his piece of art. But we must continue to support and fund the arts in order to preserve our right to express ourselves.

-Caitlin Brody

tobi said...

Chris Ofili's art piece in my opinion is non-offensive who are we as a people to a label on somone elses artwork. to the average american the use of feces in a portrait may be somwhat offensive or disrespect but to others in this case Chris Ofili who is nigerian and me being the son of nigerian immigrants see the elephant feces as a tool which of alot is bulit with the use of. and for the porno-graphic clippings it is just a reference to the origin of all mankind the female vagina although not as tasteful it makes perfect sense.
-tobi akintola

letty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
taylor.w.ward said...

I would say that Im generally impartial to the work. Its design
and color fail to stimulate a firm aesthetic, yet I do not believe that the controversy surrounding "The Holy Mother" extends over its conception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the peice, and while I can accept why or why not someone would appreciate the work; I still believe that it is a decision that everyone must make for themselves. The government should monetarily support all art no matter of its questionable intent or meaning. Allow it to be interpreted on an individual level.


- Kristen Graves

letty said...

My opinion about chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" goes both ways.We all have our rights in expressing our feeling and this i believe is the way Chris Ofili expresses his feelings.If this is what The Holy Virgin Mary looks like to him then so it is.My view of the Holy virgin is very diffrent from his.The only issue i had with chris Ofili painting is the use of body parts.I dont think anyone wants to be painted on a portrait with body parts like this.Personaly i dont think government money should be spent on portraits like this.

Jessieferri said...

My first opinion of "The Holy Virgin Mary" was confusion. What is this a painting of? That lady, if indeed it is one, is heavy set and the look on her face is "blah". Now that I know everthing about it, my opinion hasn't changed that much. I am personally not angry with the fact that it is supposed to look like the Virgin Mary because no one really knows what she looked like anyway. THE WORLD NEEDS DIFFERENT VIEWS, OTHERWISE WE WOULD ALL BE THE SAME AND THAT IS JUST NOT FUN! I do belive that Ofili was successful at piecing together renaissance views and modern decorativeness (beauty and ugliness) but how is to say that something should be sheltered for another opinion. That is all that it really is, an opinion. I personally would not hang it in my home, but I'm sure that in the 6 and a half billion people in the world, someone else will. Ofili's demonstration of complex factors for the judgement of the art's value was very high. He wanted scandal, and he got it. I think that government money should go to exhibitions with works that might be offensive to some citizens. Why not! Look at it this way, if you do not have things around you that remind you of your opinions or views, than do you have any at all? Different views are why we exist today.

kevin burns said...

I think that this crosses the line. i agree this is sick stuff. i know this is art and people are suppose to be opened minded but come on it is a piee of art made with a peice of poo. people in prison that are crazy draw with poo. Even if i did not know it was made out of poo i would still think it was ugly. Call me close minded but i do not believe that this is a good piece of art. I believe it is simple and distorted. People are better than playing with their own poo but if other people like it and want to look at it fine by me i would just keep walking. well i might stop by and say ewwww.
Kevin Burns

john cato said...

My opinion on "The Holy Virgin" painting is that it is creative but at the same time weird. Creative, because people weren't expecting him to design the Virgin Mary as he did in the painting. Weird, because the fact the he used manure, and porno pics as art. I do believe that he did demonstrate the complex factors by using manure, porn, and resin. I do believe that government money should go to exhibitions that might be offensive because although someone might not agree with it they still have freedom to express how they feel in there paintings.

justin said...

My opinion of Chris Ofili's "the Holy Virgin" is beautiful,gross,eye catching and offensive. Ofili I believe wanted to catch a essense of his religion by adding his home country of Nigeria's own unique style of art. With the elephant dung added in I belive is just another way he shows Nigeria's art style, With the addition of womens behinds maybe Ofili just simply liked women's butts. The picture it self is just a different representation of the virgian Mary rather than the tipical style,of course you must have an open mind of different artist's work personally being a christian I don't find it offensive at all.

lexicon said...

In my opinion, Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is not the standard view of how I would picture the holy virgin. When you are talking about the catholic religion, this in NO way resembles the holy virgin. To Catholics, she is beautiful and pure, in Ofili's she is surrounded by naked booties and standing on "elephant dung". Even though art is found in any and every shape and form, I do not think she should be portrayed the way she has been. Although i do not perticularly like the piece i think i can still appriciate it and find beauty in the art itself.

I think government money should support exhibitions with works that some might find offensive. There is NO way to please everyone and art is very a broad subject what one person might find offensive, another might not. I think the owner of the exhibit should decide if they want to show a certain painting or not. I think if the government were to decide what paintings should or should not be aloud, there would be biased views.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion when it comes to art.

Christina said...

I can see why Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin made a lot of noise with religious people and I understand that it angered many people to see the Virgin Mary associated with pornography and manuer. However I don't feel that this is any reason for mayor Giuliani to bash a peice of artwork. I don't care for the peice at all but I do feel that it should be respected on the same level that we respect other art and controversal peices. I feel that to sensor art work is to take away free speech. But I still DEFINATELY don't like looking at it.

Beth said...

To be completely honest whether or not I take offense to Ofili’s work isn’t relevant. I think that the basis for this piece was to startle people. He obviously accomplished that. I did a little research about the forum “Sensation,” and found that of all the places for his work to be shown, that would be the one it would be best suited for. If other people find it offensive, then apparently they are at the wrong art show. As to whether Guiliani should pull funding from the Brooklyn art museum, of course not! It is an expression of that mans views. How dare he “stand in judgment” of another man’s art. If he were a private investor he would be well within his rights. But the money funding the museum is government money, essentially coming out of the peoples pockets. And his opinion of the arts beauty or offensiveness should have absolutely no baring on whether or not to continue funding. I found an article that I agree strongly with regarding the subject. If you are interested here is the link http://www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/comm/csj/991008/madonna.html

hdixon said...

When I first saw Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin," I was not all that impressed. After learning more about it, I had more respect for the piece. I really like unusual art and the fact that it has caused so much controversy makes it more appealing to me. It is less challenging for artists to play it safe and show a realistic portrait. I really like the fact that Ofili used pornographic pictures and elephant dung to stir up emotions in viewers of the piece. I don't necessarily believe that the piece is "beautiful" but I do think that it is valuable in that it really makes people think. It is amazing to me that the same piece that one person sees as a priceless work of art, others see as "sick stuff." I do believe that a portion of government money should go to art exhibitions even if they may be offensive to some. Art is a very important part of culture and it is not the responsibility of our government to shelter its citizens.

Freedman said...

I think that Chris Ofili's, "The Holy Virgin," is definitely different than most works of art that I've seen. I liked the gold and blue colors used and the patterns and lines created. The brown orbs...not so much my style. Some people wanted this particular piece of art destroyed because they found it offensive. My advice to them is don't look at it. As long as art isn't pouring out pure hate then get over it. As far as government funding goes, I didn't know push pins and elephant shit were so expensive!

andreeward said...

Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin" is a Fascinating/original piece of artwork. It is unique in many ways. It pushes the limits and arises emotions out of artists and arrogants. That is what I think all art should do; Make one think/ REFLECT! Mayor Rudolph Giuliani I feel has no room or space to crtiise Ofili as sick artwork. Giuliani has no art history background and i feel is arrogant to say that. Ofili brings beauty, decorativeness and ugliness together for a sheer genuis mixed media. Ofili uses bright colors and glitter that I feel represents the Holy Virgin with all her brightness and glory. And on the flip side uses "shit" as symbolic of all the negative the holy virgin has had to overcome. This piece of artwok like most should have government support whether poeple like it or not. To correctly critise artwork as beautiful/successful one must see the failure/uglyness in artwork as well.

Amber said...

Ms. Hoffman,

I turned this assignment in by paper. I was unable to post it. I read it in class that day.

Thank you,
Amber Cavender

Anti said...

samuel- looking at the work and the comment at a quick glance, I feel that Chris Ofilis work is questioning what we know about the The Holy Virgin, as well as asking us to look at ourselves and how we view the world around us.

Makuto said...

all you white people and yes the negroes too (negroes meaning those who have been Europeanized) just don't understand how complex the African experience in America really is, how deep it is because you are so arrogant, you think the only reality is your reality, learn about other people then you will be able to intelligently and insightfully speak about art made by non-europeans. your arrogance leads you to believe that somehow god gave your race the role of making the rules for all other people on the globe when in fact Europeans are really the minority when compared to non-European peoples on the rest of the globe...