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EXHIBIT Kulo Ongoing until Aug. 21 Bulwagang Juan Luna, 3rd floor, Cultural Center of the Philippines, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City IF CATHOLIC clergymen had kept quiet, if Archbishop Oscar Cruz hadn’t called the exhibit “sickening,” if he hadn’t called the artist “sick,” if he hadn’t advised the artist to see a psychiatrist, if he hadn’t implied that the artist’s sexuality was abnormal, if Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez hadn’t called for a boycott, then Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo could have gone unnoticed by the larger public.
DETAILS of Mideo Cruz’s multimedia installation Poleteismo Instead, ad hominem attacks against the artist -- “supposed artist,” according to a member of the Catholic laity -- have roused the curiosity of individuals, who are now buzzing about the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) looking for the piece that was branded “controversial” and “sacrilegious.” When they find it in one of the alcoves of the Main Gallery, they will see multicolored plastic piggy banks stuffed inside a case usually reserved for religious statues; and Christ the King with a bright red clown nose, his right hand replaced by a Mickey Mouse glove, and his head crowned with Mickey Mouse ears made from a Coke can. Hanging behind a divider is a cross with a bright red penis thrusting out from the vertical bar. And on the walls, a multimedia collage composed of a confusion of images and objects: there are ads, political paraphernalia from Fernando Poe, Jr., Gilbert Teodoro, and Barack Obama; there are religious posters of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary and the Holy Family; there are handouts, pamphlets and stickers; there are rosaries, penis ashtrays, crucifixes, condoms and Christmas lights; there’s a lot of stuff. “There’s nothing there that you won’t see in Quiapo,” said Karen O. Flores, officer-in-charge of the CCP Visual Arts Unit. Several things must be made clear. Poleteismo is part of Kulo, a group exhibit organized by alumni artists from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) who wanted to contribute a show in time for Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary and UST’s 400th anniversary. It features old and new work from UST graduates such as Jose “Bogie” Tence Ruiz, Ronald Ventura and Mark Salvatus. Kulo’s title comes from the Filipino term for “a state of boiling,” and is also associated with rage and irritation. According to curators, the exhibit is framed as a “discourse of the pen and the sword, education and revolution.” Kulo is not sanctioned by the UST, which wanted to have its name removed from the exhibition text after Mr. Cruz’s piece became a hot potato (the University’s request was denied by the CCP since nowhere does it say that Kulo is an “official” UST event). Poleteismo is an old piece first shown in 2002 at the Vargas Museum of the University of the Philippines. Mr. Cruz wasn’t thinking of the Reproductive Health Bill when he conceived Poleteismo
is found on the accompanying wall text. and Mark Salvatus. seminarians and lay people committed to the service of the Filipino Church and the Filipino nation. condoms. there are religious posters of Jesus Christ. “Thereís nothing there that you won’t see in Quiapo.” if he hadn’t called the artist “sick. and Christ the King with a bright red clown nose.a seminary inside the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University -as part of Tutok: Nexus.” said Karen O. Images are open to various interpretations on the basis of the viewer’s perspective. crucifixes. the images I create contain more explanation than my words. education and revolution.” Versions of the installation have been exhibited elsewhere. a group exhibit organized by alumni artists from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) who wanted to contribute a show in time for Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary and UST 400th anniversary. they will see multicolored plastic piggy banks stuffed inside a case usually reserved for religious statues. and his head crowned with Mickey Mouse ears made from a Coke can.” and is also associated with rage and irritation.as now -.” Kulo is not sanctioned by the UST. office r-in-charge of the CCP Visual Arts Unit. then Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo could have gone unnoticed by the larger public. “My role usually stops after producing the final image.” if he hadn’t advised the artist to see a psychiatrist. and Christmas lights. penis ashtrays. Several things must be made clear. Kulo’s title comes from the Filipino term for “a state of boiling. Flores. Poleteismo is an old piece first shown in 2002 at the Vargas Museum of the University of the Philippines. which tells viewers patient enough to read that his intent was -.to “speak of idolatry and the deconstruction of neo-deities. Ronald Ventura. And on the walls. It features old and new work from UST graduates such as Jose “Bogie” Tence Ruiz. most notably in 2007 in the lobby of the Loyola House of Studies (LHS) -. Virgin Mary. Cruz wasn’t thinking of the Reproductive Health Bill when he conceived Poleteismo . Hanging behind a divider is a cross with a bright red penis thrusting out from the vertical bar. there’s a lot of stuff.” However.” If Catholic clergymen had kept quiet. What he was thinking then -. if Archbishop Oscar Cruz hadn’t called the exhibit “sickening. a group exhibit organized in cooperation with Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB). Cruz’s piece became a hot potato (the University’s request was denied by the CCP since nowhere does it say that Kulo is an “official” UST event). and Barack Obama. and stickers. pamphlets. “an association of religious priests.and still is -. Gilbert Teodoro. political paraphernalia from Fernando Poe Junior. and the Holy Family.nine years ago. if Bishop Deogracias Iniguez hadn’t called for a boycott. When they find it in one of the alcoves of the Main Gallery. if he hadn’t implied that the artist’s sexuality was abnormal. in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld. Cruz added that he doesn’t want to interfere with how the artwork will affect the sensibilities of his audience. maturit y and imagination.” he said. which wanted to have its name removed from the exhibition text after Mr. a multimedia collage composed of a confusion of images and objects: there are ads. Mr. According to curators. “As a visual artist. there are handouts. his right hand replaced by a Mickey Mouse glove. Mr. the exhibit is framed as a “discourse of the pen and the sword. there are rosaries. Poleteismo is part of Kulo.
is found on the accompanying wall text.” he said. maturity. I grew up celebrating Christmas and waiting for Santa Claus the same as everybody else. “My role usually stops after pro ducing the final image.may rest in the fiery furnace of hell. But. and imagination.” laughed Ms. Martini called Mr. Flores. Cruz added that he doesn’t want to interfere with how the artwork will affect the sensibilities of his audience.as now -. It also bears saying that Mr. Cruz be given the death penalty. “The CCP will not be party to any censorship or . She also demanded that Mr. The uproar it created might be the unconscious denial of seeing ourselves truthfully. Cruz was in America on a grant from an American institution. Italy.nine years ago.” Versions of the installation have been exhibited elsewhere. “We all grew up sharing the same culture as the only Christian nation in Asia. “As a visual artist. Poleteismo is characteristic of his practice. the exhibit was “well -received. Regardless. he understands where his current critics are coming from. Cruz a “****ing asshole” among many other things. the CCP’s Visual Arts Unit has been fielding calls from people requesting that Kulo be shut down. and numerous international grants and residencies.” said Mr. most notably in 2007 in the lobby of the Loyola House of Studies (LHS) -. In his opinion. he created a performance piece attacking American consumerism and imperialism. even if his piece lived with them for more than a month. the threats he has received just proves the ugliness reflected in his work. often critical and unimpressed by authority.to “speak of idolatry and the deconstruction of neo-deities. the blasphemy of our sacred self. and wellpromoted” inside the Ateneo campus. in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld. an Ateneo Art Award in 2006. after which his soul -.which she believes he has already sold to the devil -. The reality of our society is the real blasphemy of our own image. “He was biting the hand that was feeding him. and Germany. Cruz did not hear any aggressive comments from the priests of LHS. Cruz is not a “supposed artist” but an artist.” Mr. seminarians and lay people committed to the service of the Filipino Church and the Filipino nation. Mr. “My images are mere representations of things we see in ourselves. “We need to realize that [Poleteismo] is the mirror of our society and of ourselves. “an association of religious priests. His Facebook page has received a wealth of comments from a poster who goes by the name Rozanna Martini. a lauded one who has received a Thirteen Artist Award from the CCP in 2003.” he said. including the United States. He has exhibited and participated in art events in more than 10 countries.” However. the images I create contain more explanation than my words.and still is -.” Asked if he was a Catholic. What he was thinking then -. Ms. Mideo replied that nobody lives inside a vacuum. he added. Since the controversy over Poleteismo exploded.a seminary inside the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University -as part of Tutok: Nexus. When Mr.France. Mr. Images are open to various interpretations on the basis of the viewer’s perspective. Cruz. a group exhibit organized in cooperation with Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB). which tells viewers patient enough to read that his intent was -. “The moral uproar of some Catholic devotees is as valid as the profundities of my work. well-attended.” he said.
” said Ms.” “Poleteismo is social criticism. for example. Prussian-blue robe hovers over an intricate golden ground of enamel dots and glitter. a Catholic university. Flores. Her mantle is open to reveal a black breast made of elephant dung and festooned with pins. Nothing is new about contemporary art and religion butting heads. “I see no furtherance of Filipino culture in the exhibit. attempted to pull the museum’s f unding and have it evicted because he found Mr. J. art critic Lucy R.” “I personally find the exhibit offensive. and his piece is a legitimate critique. which shows a crucifix floating in a golden sea of urine. and program for the year. They’re telling people what to do. the CBCP has not issued a formal statement regarding Kulo. the Brooklyn Museum filed a lawsuit against Mr. Cruz was educated in UST. The painting rests on two clumps of dung. said that he was saddened by the malice of initial reports. one is decorated with the word Virgin.” In turn. which included a modified Pieta showing the Virgin Mother vomiting on the dead Christ. Let it be a point of discussion.” Rudy Giuliani. really. There was no discussion or due process. Based on its formal value. the other with the word Mary. has no plans of giving in to pressure. “Let the public see the exhibit.” she sighed. scope. curator of Kulo. “CCP has not bowed down to Presidents of the Republic. Flores. Ofili’s painting “sick. who was part of a contingent inspecting Kulo. online radio manager of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In the Village Voice.” Proposals may be disqualified based on several reasons.) She added that she was surprised by the vehement reactions coming from lay leaders and higher clergy. a 1987 photograph by artist and photographer Andres Serrano.” (Jose Legaspi’s installation in the Small Gallery. she pointed out that Mr.both ominous and glorious. . “They’re not coming from positions of inquiry or consultation. A very black woman cloaked in a stippled. Regarding concerns that Kulo might be prejudicial against the rights of Catholics. “We want to encourage sober discussion so that tolerance can be achieved. “I’m disappointed in the media.” said Melo Acuna. Art is about dialog and discourse. Flores. and it is part of social development to criticize what’s happening. really more provocative and disturbing. review criteria include “sensitive awareness of the artist’s responsibility to Philippine art and society” and “consistency with the CCP’s goals. so why is it going to bow down to the leaders of the lai ty?” said Ms.” Others were less enthralled. The Holy Vigin Mary by Chris Ofili also caused a stir when it arrived in the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999 as part of group exhibit titled Sensation. adding that she has seen works at the CCP that were “really.suppression. Well-known cases include Piss Christ.” The CCP.) According to the general exhibition policies of CCP’s Visual Arts Unit. Lippard judged it “a darkly beautiful photographic image -. Pacena II. among them if they are “prejudicial to the rights and welfare of other people. then mayor of New York and a Catholic. Giuliani for breach of the First Amendment and won.” said Ms.” he said in a phone interview. It is the CCP’s responsibility to serve the public diligently. but not what its detractors make of it. art critic Jerry Saltz wrote: “To describe the painting is to know this image is many things. What diligence is the CCP exercising?” (As of writing. she continued.
”) Threats and insults directed towards the artist. his right hand replaced by a Mickey Mouse glove. the image is based on the Last Judgment and the promise of Angel Gabriel to Mary: .adding that a TV program seemed to provoke attacks on Mr. Mr. are uncalled for. pamphlets. there are rosaries. Egyptian art is governed by rules. Gilbert Teodoro. and Lord of the Rings with 2 comments Here is a description of the Poleteismo exhibit: When they find it in one of the alcoves of the Main Gallery. Ra is depicted with head of falcon and sun disk. Christian iconography. And on the walls. the rule is broken and it ceases to be art according to Egyptian hieroglyphic rules. “No one tried to understand what he was trying to say. Even though there are many gods. adding that viewers should see Poleteismo in the context of the exhibit. Polytheism is the worship of many gods. condoms. and Barack Obama. using different man-animal combinations. So if you depict Ra with a lion’s head. there are handouts. they will see multicolored plastic piggy banks stuffed inside a case usually reserved for religious statues. a multimedia collage composed of a confusion of images and objects: there are ads. Most of these rules are given based on the Bible.” http://monkshobbit. The depictions of the God’s of Egypt are many. political paraphernalia from Fernando Poe Junior. ancient men has portrayed them always as separate entities. Virgin Mary.com/2011/08/18/is-mideo-cruzs-poleteismo-exhibit-art-thoughts-onpolytheism-iconography-and-lord-of-the-rings/ Is Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo exhibit art? Thoughts on polytheism. crucifixes. which. there’s a lot of stuff.wordpress. and stickers. but you know who is who. Cruz. (A report quoted Archbishop Cruz as saying that organizers of the exhibit “became lesser persons because of what they did. penis ashtrays. and his head crowned with Mickey Mouse ears made from a Coke can. “The discussion has gone off in a different direction and focus. For the case of the icon of the Sacred Heart.” he said. Pacena went on. “Talk about the work. has very strong imagery. and Christmas lights. and the Holy Family. though not the same as Egyptian art. there are religious posters of Jesus Christ. admittedly. Everything about Kulo is concentrated on Mideo’s work. is also based on rules. Hanging behind a divider is a cross with a bright red penis thrusting out from the vertical bar.” he continued in the vernacular. iconography. but the point of the exhibit is discourse and that’s what we need right now. and Christ the King with a bright red clown nose. He was condemned and we were judged in a primitive way. Sekhmet is a woman with a lion’s head.
This leads us to the question: is modern art true art? As long as it has precise rules for interpreting. and immediately blood and water flowed out (Jn 19:33-34) My heart is overwhelmed. 9I will not give vent to my blazing anger. they did not break his legs. do not begin with the Platonic form but with reality.Behold. Modern paintings in the tradition of Picasso are also not based on rules but on an endless search for the Platonic form stripped of the accidentals –the rules of perspective and the physics of light. this is a mark of the things bred by evil.* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. Classical art. 34*s but one soldier thrust his lance into his side. (Hos 11:8-9) Now. Poleteismo is not based on rules. The Shadow that bred them can only mock. But modern art of Picasso and Mideo Cruz I shall not call true abstract art. and you shall name him Jesus. Sacrifice is an abstraction. you will conceive in your womb and bear a son. my pity is stirred. but you know it when you see the face of Christ in pain. and uses the limitations of reality to convey the Platonic form. Chinese characters. Sam. But there is something else in Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo: mockery of what is. In Lord of the Rings. 32g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. I would call Egyptian hieroglyphics. it cannot make: not real new things of its own. for Evil cannot create but can only mock. 33and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever. and Aztec picture writing as true abstract arts. in contrast. because they stand for kingship. (Lk 1:31-33) When the Son of Man comes in his glory. As Frodo said to Sam concerning Orcs: No. The beating heart aflame and pierced is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? (Road to Emmaus. and of his kingdom there will be no end. 32 o He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. For I am God and not a man. but you know it when you see Christ crucified on the cross. is Poleteismo exhibit of Mideo Cruz based on rules? Like many modern art. I will not come in wrath. Modern art fails because it falsely assumes that man is not an embodied spirit whose knowledge of reality is conveyed by the senses. With this definition. Anguish is an abstraction. Modern poems have freed themselves from the strictures of rhyming and meter resulting to free verses. Like a disembodied spirit. (Mt 25:31-32) This is why you see Christ depicted with a crown and sceptre. if not. it is just a plain drawing. they eat and drink. then it is art. Lk 24:32) But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead. you see nothing in modern art but a mirage. I will not destroy Ephraim again. he will sit upon his glorious throne. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs. it only ruined them and twisted . an illusion formed in your mind of what could have been –full of potential but achieving nothing.g the Holy One present among you. and all the angels with him.
the Son of God. and if they are to live at all. Mockery of God is a devilish craft. not only parents. The first three commandments has been easily disposed. by giving Christ Mickey mouse ears and nose. 201) The orcs were made in the mockery of elves and men. they have to live like other living creatures. Black Masses in Satan worship turn the crucifix upside down. . Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take. turning salvation inside out. The sixth and the ninth are by the promotion of the reproductive health bill and its ills– fornication and adultery–by sticking out the condom in the cross. but also the government. The fifth is by killing the reputation of a good man–the Man-God Christ–and all those who followed Christianity for more than 2000 years. So when Mideo Cruz mock not men but the image of Christ. if they can get no better. (Return of the King p. And the seventh and 10th by coveting and forcibly taking the authority of the Catholic Church to declare what is morally good and evil. the church. The eighth is by using freedom of speech to speak falsehood.them. but not poison. The fourth is by rebellion to figures of authority. and Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo has the mark of the devil’s claw. and rules of good art. making man as gods. and glorifying all the sins against the Ten Commandments. there is something evil afoot.