Artist's Chocolate Jesus Raises Ire
Thursday, March 29, 2007; 5:36 PM
NEW YORK -- The Easter season unveiling of an anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, dubbed "My Sweet Lord" by its creator, has infuriated Catholics preparing to observe some of their holiest days of the year.
The 6-foot sculpture by Cosimo Cavallaro was to debut Monday evening, four days before Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The final day of the exhibit at the Lab Gallery inside Manhattan's Roger Smith Hotel was planned for Easter Sunday.
"This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group. "It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing _ to choose Holy Week is astounding."
The gallery's creative director, Matt Semler, said the Lab and the hotel were overrun with angry telephone calls and e-mails. The gallery was considering its options, he said.
"We're obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offense people have taken," said Semler, adding that the Holy Week timing was a coincidence.
The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds of milk chocolate, and it features Christ with his arms outstretched. The Cavallaro creation does not include a loincloth.
A publicist for the gallery said the artist was not available for comment.
Cavallaro, who was raised in Canada and Italy, is best known for his quirky work with food as art: Past efforts include repainting a Manhattan hotel room in melted mozzarella, spraying 5 tons of pepper jack cheese on a Wyoming home and festooning a four-poster bed with 312 pounds of processed ham.