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

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

Clip from video ‘A Fire In My Belly’ (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

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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.

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