Disturbing Art

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By Raïssa Robles

I like this piece of art for art’s sake:

 

DISTURBING ART JOY ART IMG_8019

Painting at the 2007 Venice Biennale - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

But it is art like this that provokes my mind:

 

DISTURBING ART canada dead bird IMG_8036

Art installation by a Canadian artist at the 2007 Venice Biennale - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

And this :

DISTURBING ART canada bird head IMG_8041

Canadian artist rendition of a businessman at the 2007 Venice Biennale - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

And this:

DISTRUBING ART woman on chair IMG_8049

Art installation at the 2007 Venice Biennale - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

And this, too:

 

DISTURBING ART boat on glass IMG_8007

Boat on a sea of broken glass at the 2007 Venice Biennale - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

Religious art

The Catholic Church has always used art to great effect to elicit religious fervor from Filipinos.

But what goes for Catholics in Italy – the seat of the Catholic Church today –  has never been allowed inside Philippine churches.

For instance, this work of religious art inside the Siena Cathedral dates back to the medieval period -

 

DISTURBING ART - siena cathedral floor half naked woman IMG_7455

Carving on the floor of the Siena cathedral - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

And this, too:

DISTURBING ART boy suckling from wolf siena MG_7451

Romulus and Remus suckling from a wolf , a work of art etched and carved on the floor of the Siena Cathedral - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

Public art

This public art in Florence would also never see the light of day  at our Rizal Park.

DISTURBING ART florence naked woman IMG_7109

A statue at the Loggia in Florence - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

At the same Loggia or square, Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus Beheading Medusa struts with all his glory:

DISTURBING ART florence holofernes IMG_7209

The statue, Perseus beheads Medusa, is on display at the Loggia or public square - PHOTO by Raissa Robles

 

In contrast, the Philippines remains to this day quite a conservative society when it comes to nudity. Even in that bastion of  academic freedom,  the University of the Philippines, the statue to portray freedom is forced to wear a discreet fig leaf:

DISTURBING ART Oblation Screenshot_1

The Oblation at the University of the Philippines

 

Being an artist in the Philippines, with all of society’s restrictions, remains a challenge not for the timid.

But for the brave, it’s a wild, wild adventure.

___________________________________

Related Story

Meet our new Philippine President: Her Excellency, Madame Imelda Marcos

 

 

44 Responses to “Disturbing Art”

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  1. 11
    Dan Jimenez says:

    In a hearing conducted by the Philippine Senate regarding the infamous exhibition of penises and other genitalia or Politeismo as they named it at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the hottest “artist” this side of the world was a big no show. Given the chance to explain his “art” in the biggest stage of his career, the “Artist” known as Cruz chose to snob his would be “honorable” inquisitors, his “freedom-loving-give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death die hard supporters and of course his mad-as-hell-we-can-not-take-it-anymore critics. There was F.Sionil Jose who said,“The issue here is not freedom of expression [but] art. I saw the photos [of Cruz’s work] and it is not art. The photos illustrate how the artist is immature and juvenile.” There was, “National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Asia Imao(who happens to be a Muslim) who said he was particularly offended by Cruz’s decision to put a phallic symbol on the forehead of an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

    As for his supporters, they had these to say:

    “Abrera said the use of religious icons were not “a comment about religion but how society treats things we idolize.”
    Chris Millado, CCP vice president and artistic director, said the images presented were “very strong, intense expressions of ideology” and were also statements about “religious and political authority.”
    Pangalangan, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, cited a case where the Catholic Church objected to utterances made by Iglesia ni Cristo about the Virgin Mary. He said the court ruled that “it must protect the speech however unclean it may be” and that “it cannot censor the speech … simply because it attacks other religions.”
    Lawyer Florin Hilbay of the UP College of Law said freedom of expression was crafted “for those forms of expression that disturb, offend and even anger us…”
    “If [we] all like the same forms of expression, there wouldn’t be need for it,” Hilbay said, adding:
    “The CCP has discretion to exhibit but it did not go out of its way to offend the public, or exert effort to offend the Catholic faith. No one was compelled to look at the exhibit.

    Lastly, from Father Tiong of UST:

    Tiong referred to Article 19 of the Civil Code stating that every person must “act with justice, give his due and observe honesty and good faith.”
    “This means everyone who exercised freedom of expression is obliged to [observe Article 19]. The constitutional right to freedom of expression cannot be [used] to broadcast, insult, destroy the name or bring disrepute,” he said.

    And last from Chairman Senator Angara:

    Sen. Edgardo Angara, the committee chair, later announced that he would not recommend sanctions against the CCP board.
    “The officers already said they are reviewing their policies related to exhibits and other public activities. I have already adjourned the hearing,” Angara said.

    And really the last:

    Mideo Cruz perhaps was not ready for such an overwhelming response to his Obra Malicia. That he might have been buried in the deluge of public attention. Or that he might just be camera shy or not eloquent enough to explain what he meant. After all the ruckus he created, he chose the silence of the dark. Freedom is for all. Those who exercise it though to justify perversion, indecency and aim to disturb, to offend, to anger must be ready face the equal opposite reaction they deserve. Freedom is not a shield. It is a right that must be ruled by other people’s freedom. That is how civilized societies exist and function.

    In the final analysis, Cruz has a penis of a freedom to show but lack the balls to back it up. And that is just sad if not outright tragic.

    (Note: Quotes in bold are courtesy of PDI. Thank you.)

    http://danmeljim.wordpress.com

  2. 10
    maricel pangilinan arenas says:

    two ears to hear, two eyes to see, two hands to work, one mouth to speak, one phallus to procreate… unfortunately and irrationally, poor penis and vagina i think have been given such a raw deal in this country. the mere mention of the words and… “bastos… take offense… malisya”. bakit nga ba? we blind ourselves to the concepts of creative power, strength, amplification, magnification, birth, fatherhood, motherhood, joy, the regeneration of humanity… and instead see offense, invasion, rape, perversion, promiscuity, abuse, exploitation. i try and approach work seeking, “what is the artist trying to say, to share?”. back in the UP College of Fine Arts, at one of my art theory courses, i was introduced to the concept of “death of the author” in the class of artist-professor Ringo Bonoan. essentially, as i understood it, it simply means any one who views an art piece then becomes co-author and re-shapes its meaning, its significance. the people who vandalized Cruz’s “Poleteismo” brought the sum total of their fears, hatred, and condemnation into the picture as they assaulted the work. like it or not, they too are now the most celebrated co-authors of “Poleteismo” having added their lenses and their marks in the most eloquent if violent of ways.

  3. 9
    sai says:

    art appreciation is subjective and people have the right to express themselves. i may not appreciate mr. cruz’s work but i see no reason why he (or the ccp board for that matter) should be threatened with bodily harm over this. how ironic that these self-righteous people who call themselves christians would resort to violence to prove a point. it not only reeks of hypocrisy but is also decidedly unchristian. and please don’t use the “jesus got angry with the gamblers and drunkards in the temple” excuse because he never threatened their lives.

    cruz’s work was meant to provoke but i doubt if part of his intention was to incite hate against a particular religion. he may have ruffled some feathers or religious sensibilities but that is part and parcel of certain works of art and literature that make a social commentary of the issues of the day like the rh bill for one.

    and how, pray tell, does cruz’s artwork trample on the freedom of others? freedom without responsibility is tyranny?! interesting, i’ve always thought that there is NO freedom in tyranny.

    for me, freedom is being able to express one’s self without having to worry about being physically harmed or being hauled off to jail. oppression in whatever form and manner is not freedom. if you don’t like an artist’s work, then don’t see it. if you don’t like a writer’s work, then don’t read it. don’t impose your beliefs on others who may not share the same sentiments with you because that is a form of oppression.

    i would say that during the spanish occupation, jose rizal with his books and juan luna with his spoliarium were considered irresponsible, indecent and disrespectful by the church and the colonials.

    heck, even michelangelo’s sistine chapel caused a scandal when it was unveiled and he was accused by no less than vatican officials of being immoral and obscene. i guess that means that these self-righteous people who vituperate cruz’s work and threaten him along with ccp officials have the same medieval attitude. i wonder if they also consider all those paintings, frescoes and sculptures with anatomically correct figures and erotic scenes in the vatican as indecent?

    respect? here’s something to ponder on — if jesus had any respect for the pharisees then we won’t have christianity in the first place.

    “we get drawn to art by the way it puts order to chaos”….wow….i guess you’ve never heard of grotesque or dark art then huh.

    the way i see it, all these talk of “freedom with responsibility” when used by these critics seems to mean it’s their way or the highway. the essence of a true democracy is not just what the majority wants but rather the freedom to exchange or put forth different viewpoints without coming to blows and the right for even just a lone person for his voice to be heard without being beaten to a bloody pulp.

    in a civilized society, disagreements are settled through discourse and not with weapons or fists.

    from what has transpired, the ones who are being uncivilized and unchristian are those who destroyed mr. cruz’s artwork and those who made those death threats.

    and that is the irony and hypocrisy for you.

  4. 8
    Cordi Villa says:

    Just sharing an article – This constitutional guarantee (freedom of expression) is just patterned after the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court as early as 1942 has already ruled that libel and obscenity are the classes of expression or speech that should be prevented and punished because “such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by social interest in order and morality” (Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire, 315 US 572).

    • 8.1
      Dan Jimenez says:

      And these are learned men whose job was to make sure that freedom is enjoyed by all.

      Freedom without responsibility will cause strife and eventual disintegration of society.

      Absolute freedom corrupts absolutely.

  5. 7
    Dan Jimenez says:

    Dear Mr. President:

    I read with glee your decision to uphold freedom of expression by not firing the CCP’s Board of Directors after the head of the Visual and Arts Division quit over the furor of Medeo Cruz’s Penis on Jesus’ face collage. Acccording to your Spokesman, Mr. Lacierda, and I quote, ““I think what the President said is very clear. He’s not after censorship”. And that nobody else is going to get fired over this. Not the Chairman nor any of the Board of Directors.

    And this gives me a lot of hope for this project that I have been mulling over.

    You see, like Medeo Cruz, I am into penises, too. And here is my idea.

    I will have a picture of your beloved mother, Cory Aquino and your sister Kris fighting over a penis. Right now, I am still looking for a model because the penis has to be worth fighting over. Then I will superimpose your Dad’s lonesome picture with the inscription, “Hindi ka nag-iisa” or “Naisahan ka”. I have not really decided on it.

    The meaning of my art is simple. It will show how your Mom was cheated of your Dad’s love because of his assassination. As for Kris being in the picture, well I do not have to explain that.

    I am cc-ing Mr. Lacierda, all the CPP Board of Directors, Medeo Cruz and all the damn media who created this controversy. I mean, can’t they leave true art alone?

    Mabuhay ka, Mr. President!

    • 7.1
      GabbyD says:

      “The meaning of my art is simple. It will show how your Mom was cheated of your Dad’s love because of his assassination. As for Kris being in the picture, well I do not have to explain that.”

      actually you do. artists have to really explain their work.

      so i’m really looking forward to your… “explanation”. i’m sure it’ll be…”classy”

      • 7.1.1
        Dan Jimenez says:

        I don’t have to explain that, GabbyD. Art is in the eyes of the beholder. And don’t you get it? It is not really about art that this Penis on Jesus face is all about. If you listen to P-Noy, Cruz, Abrea and the CCP board of directors and all their supporters it is all about freedom. Freedom to express whatever you want in whatever form you want. Absolute, unmitigated, unbridled.

        The problem of course comes in when someone’s absolute freedom tramples on somebody’s. How far can you swing your fist without a retaliation? An inch from my nose. Freedom must come with responsibility. Without responsibility, it is called tyranny. There can be no peace nor civilization without freedom coupled with responsibility.

        And just for the heck of it, ask Cruz and all his supporters to put that penis on Muhammad’s face. see what happens.

        Responsibility, decency, respect. Consider that and then we can talk about freedom.

        • 7.1.1.1
          GabbyD says:

          it is about art.the freedom to make art, and for people to see it, if they want to.

          the artist counts as a “beholder”.

          so if you wanna do your art as described above, you better be ready to explain it. the artist , cruz, is willing to discuss his work with anyone. YOU should be too.

          again, that comment about kris? i’m sure “Responsibility, decency, respect.” will be HUGE parts of that explanation. i’m looking forward to it.

          • 7.1.1.1.1
            Dan Jimenez says:

            Did Cruz show decency, responsibility, respect?

            Perhaps you did not get the idea that if those who supported Cruz’s “art” will be put on the receiving end, my “art” for art’s sake is also acceptable? The malice was all intended for emphasis. Or did you not get that, too?

            You see, the meaning of what I proposed as an “art” is insignificant. P-Noy, the CCP Directors think Cruz must be given a stage because freedom to express oneself is absolute. And if Cruz can enjoy such freedom, then everybody else could, me included regardless of all the malice, disrespect and irresponsibilty I can muster.

            Have I made myself clear enough?

            • raissa says:

              Yup. Loud and clear.

              To you, art must show decency, responsibility and respect.

              That’s not art. That’s the New Society that Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos tried to impose on the Philippines.

            • GabbyD says:

              crystal clear. but i think you missed something crucial,

              cruz, the artist, will explain to anyone what his piece means to him. the art is the representation of his ideas.

              have you read what he had to say?

              you, when you make YOUR ART, as described above, will also be asked, “what does this mean to you?”

              you should be ready with an answer.

    • 7.2
      Alan says:

      Tell us when you do hold the exhibit, we will attend and will bring cameras.

      Meantime I’ve taken the liberty of drafting the outline of the review I’ll write about it:

      “The so-called artist, drawing from a limited vision defined largely by puerility, intolerance, impatience and crypto-fascist tendencies, has pulled out all the stops in his “Aquino” installation to drive the message home, the message being ‘lookit me I can say what i want coz this is what i think of your art wahoo’. In retrospect, all that the sad, unimaginative exhibit lacks is a sign saying “yeehaw”. Of course, as real artists understand, he is free to express his vapidity because that is what free speech is all about

  6. 6

    Just like our finger prints that no two has yet been found similar, so is our respect to one another that each is entitled to his opinion and understanding.
    One thing I am sure about Catholic Rome tolerating a disturbing art work in their public places is some right they cannot allow to other nations to have as one of the measures to make sure of the church control over far places.

  7. 5
    manuelbuencamino says:

    I think the exhibit would not have generated as much attention and controversy if it was held in a private gallery. It was the public nature i.e. State funding that allowed so many people to think it was their business to dictate how tax money should be spent.

  8. 4
    Alan says:

    Freedom of expression SHOULD serve some purpose? And who precisely dictated that? Is there some Cosmic Ordinance I might have missed? Will violators be penalized? Pinched really hard?

    That “should” which sounds very much like a lift from the Fascist/Stalinist Guide on How to Enjoy The Art We Tell You To (Or Else…)

    • 4.1
      Cordi Villa says:

      Yes, in a civilized world, nothing is done in vain. Art is a gift that’s never intended to be used to hurt but to give pleasure or as you say “provoke” to think towards a resolution.

      • 4.1.1
        Alan says:

        I would have thought the hallmark of a civilized society would be tolerance and forbearance of different ideas. But then that’s just my opinion. I don’t lace it with “musts” ,”shoulds” and “have tos”, finger wagging it as a hard and fast rule that applies to all

        • 4.1.1.1
          Cordi Villa says:

          Excuse me for the way I right. I don’t sweat the details. I am not stopping you from your beliefs. I am merely stating my own. So am I right, it just caused a divide between us.

          I say freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. Well, if you want Mad Max kind of anarchy, then go ahead.

          That’s it for me. There I said it.

          • 4.1.1.1.1
            Cordi Villa says:

            oops correction – write not right. haha. see i don’t sweat the details.

            • Alan says:

              No problem with the way you write, it’s the way you think. Your way or “anarchy”

              • Cordi Villa says:

                You are angry, I never said you the way you think is wrong. My policy is to be hard on the issues and not on the personalities.

              • Alan says:

                Not angry, though “impatient” might be appropriate. But I think that’s what you’re really saying yes? Either your standard of civilization holds, or anarchy? Nothing in between? No room for anything else?

            • raissa says:

              You should sweat the details. Because I do.

              • Cordi Villa says:

                Good for you Raissa. I hope that all’s well with you regarding my visit to your blog. It is all in the spirit of a good and intelligent debate. More power to you! As for me, I go back to my day job tomorrow morning.

  9. 3
    Cordi Villa says:

    Hi Raissa,

    Your examples have one common element that is lacking in Mr. Cruz’s work. Like how a reader would get drawn to a story in anticipation of some sort of resolutions to conflicts, we get drawn to a piece of art by the way it puts order to chaos.

    I believe that the most difficult thing for an artist to do is to draw out an interesting plainness in things, places, and people around us.

  10. 2
    dieforreligion says:

    if killing ur religion is freedom of expression then to kill for ur religion is also a freedom…. to kill for ur religion is worthy.

  11. 1
    maricel pangilinan arenas says:

    I can see how some people may find the Cruz piece offensive, but I don’t believe in government censorship, and everyone, artist or not, is entitled to express his or her own point-of-view in whatever medium they choose.

    This piece was in one corner of the CCP for heaven’s sake. It was part of an entire collection. It wasn’t even broadcast on TV nor published in the papers… You had to go there to see it…and attack it as some people apparently did!

    Medieval!

    I think what’s more obscene is hypocritical senators who’ve suddenly become defenders of the faith when they lie at the drop of a hat about every other thing.

    I believe in freedom of expression…the artist is not imposing his beliefs on his audience. He’s provoking thought. Besides what’s a penis ba? I’m sure Jesus had one. What would Jesus say about this, you think?

    As a comm ethics teacher friend said, certainly not “go to hell!” :D

    • 1.1
      raissa says:

      The other artists in the exhibit should complain.

      They are being punished as well.

      • 1.1.1
        maricel pangilinan arenas says:

        When I was enrolled at the UP College of Fine Arts, the studio arts classes were among the most quiet classes of all. One professor actually conducted one entire class without speaking, just gestured and demonstrated. I believe not many visual artists enjoy communicating through words. It just isn’t their preferred mode. Kaya nga visual artist.

    • 1.2
      Cordi Villa says:

      Freedom of expression should serve some purpose in a society that is so much in need of answers. Otherwise, it is just a narcissistic expression wanting some attention.

      • 1.2.1
        raissa says:

        The purpose of some art is to give joy; some to provoke and disturb; others just to be.

        What to you is narcissistic art? Pls. explain.

        • 1.2.1.1
          Cordi Villa says:

          That kind of work whose only purpose is to catch attention by being outlandish or hateful. It distracts attention from the real issues that matter. It never solves anything. It just divides. The only thing it did was to earn for himself some 15 minutes of fame.

          • 1.2.1.1.1
            Alan says:

            And if other people might happen to find the work you revile so much profound and thoughtful?

            • Cordi Villa says:

              I will respect that and always will go behind the majority, only for the good of all. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

              • Alan says:

                My own opinion of democracy is based on the right to free speech, because without that freedom democracy is essentially pointless. And yes, free speech is not absolute, but whereas I think calling on people to kill other people is wrong, displaying a work that some or many might find objectionable is for me a valid exercise of free speech

  12. maricel pangilinan arenas says:

    two ears to hear, two eyes to see, two hands to work, one mouth to speak, one phallus to procreate… unfortunately and irrationally, poor penis and vagina i think have been given such a raw deal in this country. the mere mention of the words and… “bastos… take offense… malisya”. bakit nga ba? we blind ourselves to the concepts of creative power, strength, amplification, magnification, birth, fatherhood, motherhood, joy, the regeneration of humanity… and instead see offense, invasion, rape, perversion, promiscuity, abuse, exploitation. i try and approach work seeking, “what is the artist trying to say, to share?”. back in the UP College of Fine Arts, at one of my art theory courses, i was introduced to the concept of “death of the author” in the class of artist-professor Ringo Bonoan. essentially, as i understood it, it simply means any one who views an art piece then becomes co-author and re-shapes its meaning, its significance. the people who vandalized Cruz’s “Poleteismo” brought the sum total of their fears, hatred, and condemnation into the picture as they assaulted the work. like it or not, they too are now the most celebrated co-authors of “Poleteismo” having added their lenses and their marks in the most eloquent if violent of ways.

  13. sai says:

    art appreciation is subjective and people have the right to express themselves. i may not appreciate mr. cruz’s work but i see no reason why he (or the ccp board for that matter) should be threatened with bodily harm over this. how ironic that these self-righteous people who call themselves christians would resort to violence to prove a point. it not only reeks of hypocrisy but is also decidedly unchristian. and please don’t use the “jesus got angry with the gamblers and drunkards in the temple” excuse because he never threatened their lives.

    cruz’s work was meant to provoke but i doubt if part of his intention was to incite hate against a particular religion. he may have ruffled some feathers or religious sensibilities but that is part and parcel of certain works of art and literature that make a social commentary of the issues of the day like the rh bill for one.

    and how, pray tell, does cruz’s artwork trample on the freedom of others? freedom without responsibility is tyranny?! interesting, i’ve always thought that there is NO freedom in tyranny.

    for me, freedom is being able to express one’s self without having to worry about being physically harmed or being hauled off to jail. oppression in whatever form and manner is not freedom. if you don’t like an artist’s work, then don’t see it. if you don’t like a writer’s work, then don’t read it. don’t impose your beliefs on others who may not share the same sentiments with you because that is a form of oppression.

    i would say that during the spanish occupation, jose rizal with his books and juan luna with his spoliarium were considered irresponsible, indecent and disrespectful by the church and the colonials.

    heck, even michelangelo’s sistine chapel caused a scandal when it was unveiled and he was accused by no less than vatican officials of being immoral and obscene. i guess that means that these self-righteous people who vituperate cruz’s work and threaten him along with ccp officials have the same medieval attitude. i wonder if they also consider all those paintings, frescoes and sculptures with anatomically correct figures and erotic scenes in the vatican as indecent?

    respect? here’s something to ponder on — if jesus had any respect for the pharisees then we won’t have christianity in the first place.

    “we get drawn to art by the way it puts order to chaos”….wow….i guess you’ve never heard of grotesque or dark art then huh.

    the way i see it, all these talk of “freedom with responsibility” when used by these critics seems to mean it’s their way or the highway. the essence of a true democracy is not just what the majority wants but rather the freedom to exchange or put forth different viewpoints without coming to blows and the right for even just a lone person for his voice to be heard without being beaten to a bloody pulp.

    in a civilized society, disagreements are settled through discourse and not with weapons or fists.

    from what has transpired, the ones who are being uncivilized and unchristian are those who destroyed mr. cruz’s artwork and those who made those death threats.

    and that is the irony and hypocrisy for you.

  14. Cordi Villa says:

    Just sharing an article – This constitutional guarantee (freedom of expression) is just patterned after the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court as early as 1942 has already ruled that libel and obscenity are the classes of expression or speech that should be prevented and punished because “such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by social interest in order and morality” (Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire, 315 US 572).

    • Dan Jimenez says:

      And these are learned men whose job was to make sure that freedom is enjoyed by all.

      Freedom without responsibility will cause strife and eventual disintegration of society.

      Absolute freedom corrupts absolutely.

  15. Dan Jimenez says:

    Dear Mr. President:

    I read with glee your decision to uphold freedom of expression by not firing the CCP’s Board of Directors after the head of the Visual and Arts Division quit over the furor of Medeo Cruz’s Penis on Jesus’ face collage. Acccording to your Spokesman, Mr. Lacierda, and I quote, ““I think what the President said is very clear. He’s not after censorship”. And that nobody else is going to get fired over this. Not the Chairman nor any of the Board of Directors.

    And this gives me a lot of hope for this project that I have been mulling over.

    You see, like Medeo Cruz, I am into penises, too. And here is my idea.

    I will have a picture of your beloved mother, Cory Aquino and your sister Kris fighting over a penis. Right now, I am still looking for a model because the penis has to be worth fighting over. Then I will superimpose your Dad’s lonesome picture with the inscription, “Hindi ka nag-iisa” or “Naisahan ka”. I have not really decided on it.

    The meaning of my art is simple. It will show how your Mom was cheated of your Dad’s love because of his assassination. As for Kris being in the picture, well I do not have to explain that.

    I am cc-ing Mr. Lacierda, all the CPP Board of Directors, Medeo Cruz and all the damn media who created this controversy. I mean, can’t they leave true art alone?

    Mabuhay ka, Mr. President!

    • GabbyD says:

      “The meaning of my art is simple. It will show how your Mom was cheated of your Dad’s love because of his assassination. As for Kris being in the picture, well I do not have to explain that.”

      actually you do. artists have to really explain their work.

      so i’m really looking forward to your… “explanation”. i’m sure it’ll be…”classy”

      • Dan Jimenez says:

        I don’t have to explain that, GabbyD. Art is in the eyes of the beholder. And don’t you get it? It is not really about art that this Penis on Jesus face is all about. If you listen to P-Noy, Cruz, Abrea and the CCP board of directors and all their supporters it is all about freedom. Freedom to express whatever you want in whatever form you want. Absolute, unmitigated, unbridled.

        The problem of course comes in when someone’s absolute freedom tramples on somebody’s. How far can you swing your fist without a retaliation? An inch from my nose. Freedom must come with responsibility. Without responsibility, it is called tyranny. There can be no peace nor civilization without freedom coupled with responsibility.

        And just for the heck of it, ask Cruz and all his supporters to put that penis on Muhammad’s face. see what happens.

        Responsibility, decency, respect. Consider that and then we can talk about freedom.

        • GabbyD says:

          it is about art.the freedom to make art, and for people to see it, if they want to.

          the artist counts as a “beholder”.

          so if you wanna do your art as described above, you better be ready to explain it. the artist , cruz, is willing to discuss his work with anyone. YOU should be too.

          again, that comment about kris? i’m sure “Responsibility, decency, respect.” will be HUGE parts of that explanation. i’m looking forward to it.

          • Dan Jimenez says:

            Did Cruz show decency, responsibility, respect?

            Perhaps you did not get the idea that if those who supported Cruz’s “art” will be put on the receiving end, my “art” for art’s sake is also acceptable? The malice was all intended for emphasis. Or did you not get that, too?

            You see, the meaning of what I proposed as an “art” is insignificant. P-Noy, the CCP Directors think Cruz must be given a stage because freedom to express oneself is absolute. And if Cruz can enjoy such freedom, then everybody else could, me included regardless of all the malice, disrespect and irresponsibilty I can muster.

            Have I made myself clear enough?

            • raissa says:

              Yup. Loud and clear.

              To you, art must show decency, responsibility and respect.

              That’s not art. That’s the New Society that Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos tried to impose on the Philippines.

            • GabbyD says:

              crystal clear. but i think you missed something crucial,

              cruz, the artist, will explain to anyone what his piece means to him. the art is the representation of his ideas.

              have you read what he had to say?

              you, when you make YOUR ART, as described above, will also be asked, “what does this mean to you?”

              you should be ready with an answer.

    • Alan says:

      Tell us when you do hold the exhibit, we will attend and will bring cameras.

      Meantime I’ve taken the liberty of drafting the outline of the review I’ll write about it:

      “The so-called artist, drawing from a limited vision defined largely by puerility, intolerance, impatience and crypto-fascist tendencies, has pulled out all the stops in his “Aquino” installation to drive the message home, the message being ‘lookit me I can say what i want coz this is what i think of your art wahoo’. In retrospect, all that the sad, unimaginative exhibit lacks is a sign saying “yeehaw”. Of course, as real artists understand, he is free to express his vapidity because that is what free speech is all about

  16. Just like our finger prints that no two has yet been found similar, so is our respect to one another that each is entitled to his opinion and understanding.
    One thing I am sure about Catholic Rome tolerating a disturbing art work in their public places is some right they cannot allow to other nations to have as one of the measures to make sure of the church control over far places.

  17. manuelbuencamino says:

    I think the exhibit would not have generated as much attention and controversy if it was held in a private gallery. It was the public nature i.e. State funding that allowed so many people to think it was their business to dictate how tax money should be spent.

  18. Alan says:

    Freedom of expression SHOULD serve some purpose? And who precisely dictated that? Is there some Cosmic Ordinance I might have missed? Will violators be penalized? Pinched really hard?

    That “should” which sounds very much like a lift from the Fascist/Stalinist Guide on How to Enjoy The Art We Tell You To (Or Else…)

    • Cordi Villa says:

      Yes, in a civilized world, nothing is done in vain. Art is a gift that’s never intended to be used to hurt but to give pleasure or as you say “provoke” to think towards a resolution.

      • Alan says:

        I would have thought the hallmark of a civilized society would be tolerance and forbearance of different ideas. But then that’s just my opinion. I don’t lace it with “musts” ,”shoulds” and “have tos”, finger wagging it as a hard and fast rule that applies to all

        • Cordi Villa says:

          Excuse me for the way I right. I don’t sweat the details. I am not stopping you from your beliefs. I am merely stating my own. So am I right, it just caused a divide between us.

          I say freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. Well, if you want Mad Max kind of anarchy, then go ahead.

          That’s it for me. There I said it.

          • Cordi Villa says:

            oops correction – write not right. haha. see i don’t sweat the details.

            • Alan says:

              No problem with the way you write, it’s the way you think. Your way or “anarchy”

              • Cordi Villa says:

                You are angry, I never said you the way you think is wrong. My policy is to be hard on the issues and not on the personalities.

              • Alan says:

                Not angry, though “impatient” might be appropriate. But I think that’s what you’re really saying yes? Either your standard of civilization holds, or anarchy? Nothing in between? No room for anything else?

            • raissa says:

              You should sweat the details. Because I do.

              • Cordi Villa says:

                Good for you Raissa. I hope that all’s well with you regarding my visit to your blog. It is all in the spirit of a good and intelligent debate. More power to you! As for me, I go back to my day job tomorrow morning.

  19. Cordi Villa says:

    Hi Raissa,

    Your examples have one common element that is lacking in Mr. Cruz’s work. Like how a reader would get drawn to a story in anticipation of some sort of resolutions to conflicts, we get drawn to a piece of art by the way it puts order to chaos.

    I believe that the most difficult thing for an artist to do is to draw out an interesting plainness in things, places, and people around us.

  20. dieforreligion says:

    if killing ur religion is freedom of expression then to kill for ur religion is also a freedom…. to kill for ur religion is worthy.

  21. maricel pangilinan arenas says:

    I can see how some people may find the Cruz piece offensive, but I don’t believe in government censorship, and everyone, artist or not, is entitled to express his or her own point-of-view in whatever medium they choose.

    This piece was in one corner of the CCP for heaven’s sake. It was part of an entire collection. It wasn’t even broadcast on TV nor published in the papers… You had to go there to see it…and attack it as some people apparently did!

    Medieval!

    I think what’s more obscene is hypocritical senators who’ve suddenly become defenders of the faith when they lie at the drop of a hat about every other thing.

    I believe in freedom of expression…the artist is not imposing his beliefs on his audience. He’s provoking thought. Besides what’s a penis ba? I’m sure Jesus had one. What would Jesus say about this, you think?

    As a comm ethics teacher friend said, certainly not “go to hell!” :D

    • raissa says:

      The other artists in the exhibit should complain.

      They are being punished as well.

      • maricel pangilinan arenas says:

        When I was enrolled at the UP College of Fine Arts, the studio arts classes were among the most quiet classes of all. One professor actually conducted one entire class without speaking, just gestured and demonstrated. I believe not many visual artists enjoy communicating through words. It just isn’t their preferred mode. Kaya nga visual artist.

    • Cordi Villa says:

      Freedom of expression should serve some purpose in a society that is so much in need of answers. Otherwise, it is just a narcissistic expression wanting some attention.

      • raissa says:

        The purpose of some art is to give joy; some to provoke and disturb; others just to be.

        What to you is narcissistic art? Pls. explain.

        • Cordi Villa says:

          That kind of work whose only purpose is to catch attention by being outlandish or hateful. It distracts attention from the real issues that matter. It never solves anything. It just divides. The only thing it did was to earn for himself some 15 minutes of fame.

          • Alan says:

            And if other people might happen to find the work you revile so much profound and thoughtful?

            • Cordi Villa says:

              I will respect that and always will go behind the majority, only for the good of all. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

              • Alan says:

                My own opinion of democracy is based on the right to free speech, because without that freedom democracy is essentially pointless. And yes, free speech is not absolute, but whereas I think calling on people to kill other people is wrong, displaying a work that some or many might find objectionable is for me a valid exercise of free speech

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