Religious Groups Upset Over New Exhibit Set To Open At Brooklyn Museum

Gay-Themed Art With Controversial Video Clip Draws Ire Of Catholic Leader

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is it art, or is it sacrilege?

Either way, as CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reports, there’s a controversy at the Brooklyn Museum over an upcoming exhibit.

We’ll leave it to you decide.

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said a sacrilege is about to go on display at the museum with the debut next week of “Hide/Seek,” an exhibit focused on gay-themed art.

“You take any sacred thing, and make fun of it or treat it with disrespect, that’s sacrilegious,” DiMarzio said.

When Hide/Seek was shown last year in Washington D.C., it included a video called “A Fire In My Belly,” which briefly shows ants marching across a crucifix.

“Since the population of Brooklyn is a good percent, Catholic, 40 percent, I think we should object,” DiMarzio said.

But it’s not just Catholic leaders who are complaining.

“There has to be lines of respect that are drawn. And like someone said, they wouldn’t do this to Mohammed. It’s just that Christians haven’t, you know, expressed outrage the way that some other communities would,” Christian Cultural Center Pastor A.R. Bernard said.

Warning: Some may find the following images disturbing

At the museum some visitors agreed that the video might offend, but still defended the museum’s right to show it.

“Artists, first and foremost, should have the right to have a voice,” another person said.

“The art is not there for you to judge it, or to like it or not like it, you just experience it,” added another.

Neither Bishop DiMarzio nor Pastor Bernard said they plan to call for a boycott or hold any kind of protest on the plaza at the museum. They think that would give the Brooklyn museum exactly what it’s looking for — publicity.

The kind of publicity it hasn’t seen since 1999, when the “Sensation” exhibition featured a controversial image of the Virgin Mary that included pornography and elephant dung.

The museum seems to have mastered the art of creating outrage.

Last year, the video was pulled from the show in D.C., and Bishop DiMarzio has asked the Brooklyn Museum to do the same.

The museum, however, refused. It refused to make director Arthur Lehman available Thursday for an interview.

What do you think? Please sound off in the comments section below.

  • Tee-Jay

    Let’s agree that, in this case, the word “art” is spelled with a capital “F”!

    • A Little Birdie Told Me

      Let’s agree that your strong suit isn’t spelling!

  • Rodin

    Oh my, everyone’s on board!

    Good without gØds!

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is amazing is that next time there is a mooslime terrorist attack, people will be amazed. yet nothing is done to prevent it. i hope mooslimes slit throats of some people here, maybe then they will get it, but it will be too late.

  • Rodin

    @ ted, Ellen, agrace, Mike, Stu Gatz and all the pious, self-righteous “art critics” vomiting here:

    Wait until NEXT MONTH, WHEN THE EXHIBIT OPENS, and go see it, before you blather.

    Until then, your comments are but meaningless, uninformed, ignorant dribble. Otherwise, keep your opinions to yourselves.

  • jerseyjoey

    Art is in the eye of who sees it as such even if its only a few hoagie smokers its still art to them. As the rest of us see it it is a disgrace but it is a free country and no ones breaking my arms to go see the filth anyway. Now maybe i can see why the islamic nut cases call us the decandent evil corrupt west, just watch our commercials, reality Tv and yes our wonderful artistic talents. Thank GOD im old n getting ready to punch in for the 2nd shift, haha

  • Stu Gatz

    I’d like to see ants walking across an image of Mohammed, for art’s sake of course. But we all know that if that were to happen, this so called “museum” would be blown up…

    Sacrilegious or not, controversial or not, “Fire in My Belly” is frankly not very good. Amateurish, predictable “shock value” tripe. About as compelling as watching paint dry. Somebody take this idiot’s editing equipment away,,,,

    • Rodin

      I suggest you watch the whole 4 minute clip and study the iconography, background and intent of the artist (who was dying of AIDS at the time) before you let loose with your inanities and imbecilities.

      I suggest the same to Messieurs DiMarzio and Bernard.

      Stew or get it.

      • Stu Gatz

        That comment was in fact made after I subjected myself to all 4 minutes of this drivel, you sanctimonious, pompous jerk.

        Is the fact that the “artist” was dying of AIDS supposed to somehow embellish or make this piece more compelling? Apparently in your twisted view of things, it does. In other words, according to you, it can’t stand on its own merit, one has to know the “backstory’. What a pathetic excuse.

        No matter, you and your ilk have won. Congratulations on further dumbing down what is left of this culture. Feel better now?

        • Rodin

          If a work of art doesn’t speak to me, inform me, move me, I pass on it. I certainly don’t “subject” myself to it for an entire 4 minutes. If I must critique, I don’t insult. I look, study and offer as informed and rational an analysis as I can. Seething is not part of the art critical process.

        • DarthEVaderCheney

          Stu…Stu? You´re foamng at the mouth again Take two aspirn and call someone
          who cares in the morning.

          • Rodin

            “There are those who confuse discourse with vomit.”
            ~ FLORENCE KING
            American author, journalist and misanthrope;
            (b. 1936)

            Hi, Darth. Long time no see.

            • A Little Birdie Told Me And Rodin

              Howwwwwwwdeeeeeeee!!! Jeejejeje! Thanks for your input! Off to Iguazu Falls/Argentina tomorrow (Sunday) to renew my passport/tourist visa for another 6 months and then home on Tuesday. We have Mon-Tuesday holiday here (I’ve never been in a country that has more holidays than Brazil!

              • Rodin

                Nice place to go renew your “passport/tourist visa”. Have a safe trip and happy return.

                See you on the next post. Look for me commenting on anything smells of gØdliness.

                May the Dogs be with you!

                – RC.
                (my real initials)

                • DarthEVaderCheney

                  Thank you, my good man! Give ’em hell, Harry aka Rodin!!

                • Rodin

                  No aka, no ‘Harry’ here, Dak, just Rodin.

                • Rodin

                  AMEN, Brother! And neither will I.

                  I stand corrected, although I consider Harry the biggest mass murderer/war criminal in the history of humankind, no excuses, hands down.

              • Rodin


                You can join our growing little community: Michael H, DarthEVaderCheney, Dakotahgeo Pastor, myself and a couple of others. We might not know who we are but we always seem to end up in the same places at the same time.

                • Those Birds Just Won'tShut Up

                  Ahhhhhhh. No, I meant, “Give ’em hell, Rodin,” as in “Give ’em hell, Harry!” (S Truman). I’d be honored to join our little group. These pseudonyms wouldn’t have been necessary had we not had to deal with the extremist rightwing christian Taliban (philjourdan and Mr. IncredibleInJesus’Name, et al) on the internet. One does what one has to do to endure and win the battles.

  • Rodin

    Meme is all over the place with his one and only line. ‘Obsessive.” I say.

    what is done about ? million religious right fundamentalist fear-mongers living in usa?

    • Michael H.

      It amazes me. I report Meme’s comment every time. They remove it almost every time yet CBS sees no reason to block this person from posting despite the evident terms of use violation.

      • A Little Birdie Told Me

        Rodin and Mikeal H…: Who the hell knows who is in charge of CBS censors?! Maybe Meme is employed by the “Eye.” CBS doesn’t seem to learn! Rodin has it right… I could think of a lot of more evil words, but i have too much class to use them.

        • A Little Birdie Told Me


      • Meme Meyagi

        it amazes me that a mooslime terrorist like yourself is free to roam around, yet here you are

        • Michael H.

          I’m an atheist, not a Muslim. Sorry to burst your bubble.

          • Rodin

            Funny, me too.

          • Dakotahgeo Pastor

            Thumbs up!,Michael!!
            Pastor Dak!!

  • Rodin

    Lessons from the Masters (DiMarzio, take note):

    “In art, immorality cannot exist. Art is always sacred.” – August Rodin

    “There should be no argument in regard to morality in art. There is no morality in nature.” – August Rodin

    “Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind.” – Henry Miller

    “The great artists of the world are never Puritans and seldom even ordinarily respectable.” – H.L. Mencken

    “Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    “The great artist’s eye is never innocent” – Robert Hughes

    “Only the chaste are truly obscene.” – Joris-Karl Huysmans

    “I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.” – Baruch Spinoza

    “People seem to be offended by facts, or what used to be called truth.” – Francis Bacon

    “Nail up some indecency in plain sight over your door; from that time forward you will be rid of all respectable people,the most insupportable folk God has created.” – Paul Gauguin

    What else can I say?

    • A Little Birdie Told Me

      You have covered the topic adequately. I will post other comments as i find some of these commenters absolutely off the wall. Thank you!

  • Vernon Hell

    “Respect” means to “hold in high regard.” Anyone who claims to respect a religion they reject is a hypocrite. Religion is entitled to TOLERANCE, not RESPECT, which means I reign in the desire to burn your church no matter how sorely tempted I may be to do so.

    All these fulminating bishops and catholic league bigots have something to look forward to. When dead they will be reunited in HELL with all the dead popes and the current Nazi buffoon who struts around the Vatican in his clown suit.

  • ted

    This is total trash – displayed in brooklyn. Ath least they found an appropriate home for it.

  • Mike

    Scary, very scary that not one of the comments above agrees that the exposition is absolute garbage. Times like these make me ashamed to be a New Yorker.

    • philjourdan

      I have a suspicious feeling that your feeling ashamed to be a New Yorker started a lonnnnnng, long time ago. (It’s temporary… you’ll get over it).

  • David11238

    I’m kind of lost on how this is anti-Catholic. All of the images shown seem to be real. Ex: the amputees, the mummies, holographic Jesus (which I remember a church selling a while ago) and so on. What is it the Church finds objectionable? That images of Jesus are included in the film?

  • Dr Geoffrey Parkes

    As someone who has studiend the art work, the artist and the controversy surorunding the removal of this work from the Smithsonian last year, I encourage you all to research yourselves the statements of the artist on this piece, and to view the work in its context.
    David Wojnarowicz was not interested in sacrilege for sacrilege’s sake. The work itself uses the crucifix as part of a piece on povery and the everyday defilement of symbols and the sacred.

  • DarthEVaderCheney

    Meme… who the hell cares about the 7 million Muslims in your mind? And get some help in spelling!!!

  • A Little Birdie Told Me

    Lemme get this “straight”?! Ants walkin’ across a crucifix?! St.Vincent’s Hospital kidnapped financially; Bishop Finn, from the Kansas City/St. Joseph Archdiocese, indicted for protecting a child porn collecting priest; Thousands of children as victims of priest abuse. And you Catholics/Christians are worried about ants walkin across a cruciffix?? Don’t worry about Islam or any other religion. You have some very serious problems that need your undivided attention…ASAP!!!

  • Dale Auburn

    “Catholics AND Christians”? A headline like that upset even more people than the exhibit did.

    • Rodin

      In Tea Party Amerikkka, Catholics are NOT Christians.

  • Desiree Soper

    Art should not have any boundries or censorship. Christians that complain about this need to get a life. Sex and nudity is natural an beautiful in all its diversity.Christians have been demonizing sex and nudity in general for centuries. It is time that we grow up and stop accepting and endorsing the iimmature and illogical views Christians have towards sex, nudity, and sexual orientation.

    • agrace

      Eww. Do you walk around naked to be beautiful or something? We ARE grown up… the question is – are you? If you are talking about natural things that let nature totally be, right? Like sexual predators doing their “natural acts” and everybody do what ever they please – like lie, cheat, steal – all because it’s in their nature and what you call natural… Think about it! There is a reason why somethings are wrong.

      • Michael H.

        There’s a difference between nudity and explicitly violating the rights of other people by lying, cheating, stealing, pedophilia, etc. You’re comparing the physical state in which we all enter this world to criminal behavior that harms other people.

        Before you say it, you catching a glimpse of a little skin out in public does not “harm” you, no matter how badly you want to believe it. Nobody is forcing you to look.

        • agrace

          Yes, you are right. It does not harm me and it is my choice to look away. But how do you think rapists and all the other criminal out there became who they are? They are not just born automatic criminals. They begin to look at some nudity (pornography) here and there, then they start getting desires and their criminal actions start rolling in… there’s a beginning to everything.

          It’s all shown in the media or public today. Kids or even many adults watch it and then we all wonder where they get the horrible behaviors (like shootings)… Sex or Violence, for example, shown on TV today is sometimes showed as something even good. Every time someone sees something, it stays with them in some sort of way and they take with them into their future lives and behaviors. (Not arguing with

          • philjourdan

            What you are alluding to is that everyone runs the risk of being offended or negatively inspired by what others say, think, or do! That is the most indefensible stance I’ve ever read. The world is not going to stop turning because “some” might be tantalized into doing something wrong. If you or they are that weak, yes, then you may build an adequate wall of proper height and thickness in order to insulate yourself from “life.”

            • agrace

              I am not talking about myself.
              There are many people out there that give in to bad behavior (“weak” actions) and can’t control themselves..

              There might just be less violence and other criminal behavior out there in the world, if the world itself stopped showing “some people” how to do it. There’s no point in insulating ourselves out of life because the evil will never end if people don’t change. We just have to be strong and stay above it.

              • Rodin

                “There is no morality in nature.” – August Rodin

                There is no “evil’, only nature.

          • Rodin

            Rape, pedophilia and the like are NOT sexual acts but acts of violence and control and nudity has nothing to do with them.

            “No beauty does she lack when all her clothes are on but beauty itself she is
            when all her clothes are gone.” – Hindu Proverb


  • henry Finkelstein

    If its a publicity stunt to increase interest and bring in revenue, we should just ignore this few seconds of drivel in an inconsequential film. The museum needs more money and we should not be involved in a fund raiser. Also,the NY RC diocese should realize that not all Christians are Catholic. Some Christians are actually capable of thinking on their own.

    • Rodin

      “Some Christians are actually capable of thinking on their own.”

      They wouldn’t be Christians (or anything else). Religion is dogma and rejects scrutiny and dissent. That’s the very basis of “FAITH”.

      Freedom from religion. Good without gØds.

  • M.J.Barrett

    Be nice if the NY RC diocease were as concerned about 700 million
    dollars somehow mysteriously gone from St.Vincent’s hospital forcing it
    to shut down,but as is usual this sybmolistic stuff gets them more annoyed.

  • Ellen

    Well, let me put it this way. If this was about Islam you bet your boots the exhibit would be a no show. Yes it is totally anti Catholic and the Brooklyn museum is so far to the left that it’s disgusting.

    • Joe Blow

      That’s the difference between Christianity and Islam, Christians will protest verbally. Islam encourages a violent reaction to criticism. No religion or religious symbol should be exempt from ridicule or criticism. If you think this exhibit is juvenile, offensive or simply bad art, say so. But the notion that criticism of religion should be off limits is an attack on free thought, and free speech.

    • A Little Birdie Told Me

      Lemme get this “straight”?! Ants walkin’ across a crucifix?! St.Vincent’s Hospital kidnapped financially; Bishop Finn, from the Kansas City/St. Joseph Archdiocese, indicted for protecting a child porn collecting priest; Thousands of children as victims of priest abuse. And you Catholics/Christians are worried about ants walkin across a cruciffix?? Don’t worry about Islam or any other religion. You have some very serious problems that need your undivided attention…ASAP!!!

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