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From: UltraMan
To: All
Date: 2007-04-01 12:18:40
Subject: __ Jesus' Salty Chocolate Balls ... yummmmm! __

From: " UltraMan " <ultra{at}man.jp>

Outrage Forces Hotel To Cancel Chocolate Jesus

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK Artist Cosimo Cavallaro is known for his quirky work with
food as art. His past efforts include repainting a Manhattan hotel room in
melted mozzarella, spraying five tons of pepper jack cheese on a Wyoming
home, and festooning a four-poster bed with 312 pounds of processed ham.

But one of Cavallaro's latest twists on culinary art struck many Catholics
as a display of bad taste. They spurred the cancellation Friday of a
planned Holy Week exhibition featuring Cavallaro's nude, anatomically
correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ.

The hotel that houses the Lab Gallery announced the shutdown of the
"My Sweet Lord" show after it was inundated with complaints
regarding the six-foot confectionary Christ. In a letter that opened
"Dear friends," Roger Smith Hotel president James Knowles cited
the public outcry in explaining his decision.

"Your response ... is crystal clear and has brought to our attention
the unintended reaction of you and other conscientious friends of ours to
the exhibition," Knowles wrote in the two-paragraph cancellation
notice.

Matt Semler, creative director of the Lab Gallery, resigned in protest.

Cavallaro's chocolate creation was the victim of "a strong-arming from
people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing," Semler said.
"They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our
intentions."

The artwork, fashioned from more than 200 pounds of milk chocolate,
presented Christ with his arms outstretched as though nailed to an
invisible cross. The Cavallaro creation, in contrast with typical religious
portrayals of Christ, did not include a loincloth.

Word of the milk chocolate Christ infuriated Catholics, including Cardinal
Edward Egan, who described it as "a sickening display." Bill
Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was "one of the
worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."

On Friday, Donohue said he was "delighted with the outcome" after
hearing of the cancellation. But Donohue was still angry with Semler for
describing his criticism of the sculpture as "a Catholic fatwa."

"He had no business saying my letter of protest was hate speech,"
Donohue said. "It just goes to show the guy is out of his mind."

The sculpture was to debut Monday evening, the day after Palm Sunday and
just four days before Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on
Good Friday. The final day of the exhibit was planned for Easter Sunday.

The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and
e-mails about the exhibit. Semler said the calls included death threats
over the work of Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the
cancellation.

"In this situation, the hotel couldn't continue to be supportive
because of a fear for their own safety," said Semler. Cavallaro still
hoped the sweet sculpture could go on display elsewhere, according to
Semler.

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