So I feel I’d like to share with you an unexpected surprise when I was on my European trip. When walking around the city, we were seeing these billboards everywhere:
For somewhat obvious reasons, this was intriguing. We were in a relatively small, non-touristy part of Europe. This really stuck out like a sore thumb. And for that reason, it seemed incredibly brave. My BF and I took a chance, and entered the exhibit.
It was small, but the curator (an older female woman who spoke excellent English) was very enthusiastic about the exhibit, and was more than happy to answer our questions.
As it turns out, we were most fascinated with the initial exhibit on the lower level. While we didn’t get a photograph of it, it was a wall of 8×10 photos of all types and ages of people, arranged with various papers with quotes in French. Since neither of us speak French, we asked her about it. She actually took the time to read us every single response that was printed (fortunately, we are genuinely nerdy enough to have wanted to know all of them). Amazingly enough, the majority of responses were either “Sure, why not?”, “Could be”, or “Does it really matter?” A few even flat out said yes, Christ is gay as he represents love for all types. Only one response said no.
It gets even more interesting. It turns out that this woman personally went around the city, asking the the question to random people in the streets, and dictated their answer (and taking their photograph if she got their permission). And it is her own efforts that made the display. So it was quite the labor of love on her part.
Of course, the woman went on to say that many people did not want to respond at all, especially when they learned it was to be presented as part of a museum exhibit. Can’t say we were surprised to hear it. In fact, as she was reading the quotes to us, two people came into the museum, saw the first work of art presented above (the stone figure lying on the floor holding the rainbow flag), and then turned around and left, seemingly offended. She said later that was a pretty common event. We mentioned to her that we were astonished to see such a bold exhibit presented and promoted at all. She did state that the museum has received its fair share of hate mail and threats. Which is not surprising, but terrible all the same. She further went on to say that some people take the rainbow flag in that first work of art and use it to cover up the crotch of the statue (which, if you look closely, is not even really nude).
My BF and I were both tremendously moved by not only the exhibit itself, but by the passion this woman brought to it. If only more people in the world had her point of view. Although perhaps it should be noted that she said she lived in Berkley, California for about four year (which is a center for extremely liberal thinking, for those of you who may not be aware).
I feel I wanted to support this work in whatever way I could. The link to the website is here. I hope you visit, and tell them you support their vision. I mean, I can’t really think of a major museum in America that would be brave enough present an exhibit like this. So it was really incredible to me. Sadly, I don’t recall the woman’s name, and she was not one of the “official” four artists in the presentation. Despite that, I found her particular work one of the most moving displays I had seen in a long time. Of course, I didn’t exactly tell her I was TiedFeetGuy, so let’s keep that aspect under wraps. But just say you heard good things about it. 😉
One last side note, in case you are nerdy about semantics like we are. In the very first picture I posted of the sign, it’s sort of hard to tell if the question is “Would the Christ have been gay?” or “Could the Christ have been gay?” As it turns out, the question is the former, and the reason the letter “C” is present is because the name of the gallery was “Galerie C”.