The Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers is calling for the ouster of Museo Reina Sofía director Manuel Borja-Villel over a show it deems “anti-Catholic.” On view through February 9, 2015, Really Useful Knowledge has “an obvious anti-Catholic bias and might entail several crimes against freedom of religion,” the group claims. Artnet reports:
The Christian association has been irked by the installation Cajita de fósforos (Little Matchbox, 2005) by the Argentinian art collective Mujeres Públicas (Public Women). The work comprises a matchbox and a book, which features sentences like “the only Church that illuminates is the one that burns,” attributed to the Russian thinker Piotr Kropotkin. It subsequently became the motto of Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durruti, who was killed at the start of the Spanish Civil War.
The group’s actions have sparked a counter-petition: the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art is defending the national museum’s free expression, stating “CIMAM wishes to encourage debate and civilized exchange of ideas and wants to express the deep concern for the turn of the actions against the freedom of artistic expressions and of the values of dialogue defended by the Museo Reina Sofía.”
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- A glowing review of work previously deemed blasphemous: “Hurrah! An exorcism of the bad magic of 1999 has now finally arrived, in the form of the New Museum’s breathtaking building-filling Chris Ofili survey,” writes Jerry Saltz. “This is [Chris] Ofili fashioning his own history of art … one that shows Modernism’s warring mode of movements successively killing one another in order to live is less effective than letting all and any art live within one’s work.” Ofili’s survey, Night and Day, runs through January 25.
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