Most of y'all have by now hear of the violent protest created by a sculture of a crufified ronald mcdonald. If not here is a link to an article by artnet all about the moment. I'm not going to talk about any of that, instead I want to talk about the connection between Catholicism and pop-art.
McJesus was created by 40 year old, Swedish, artist Jani Leinon.
Catholiscism was born from pagan Roman mythology. With it's heavy and sensational use of images, catholic art attempts to humanize Jesus Christ. As a child every Sunday I would stare at the cruficied Jesus Christ in church. Absorbing the emotion and human pain formed a spiritual connection. A connection that I have come to understand is pagan, pagan because human emotions are closer to earth than they are to heaven.
WHen I began to discover pop-art I had many of the same reactions suprisinly. The first and most powerful was when I first saw a painting by my hero Andy Warhol, who was also a catholic. The painting was of a cambell's soup can. I remember feeling the same kind of emotions that I had gotten from the church. I felt a sense of both reverence and melancholy for the painting. The can was terribly crushed and the paper label was peeling from the can, you see. I remember thinking that the can was in pain and seconds from being discarded. What I saw was the same kind of final moment of an icon's life. My emotional reaction wouldn't have been possible if not for paganism and her rush of earthly sentiments for the natural world.
When I saw "McJesus" I felt... nothing. I mostly thought. I thought about how replacing Jesus with a pop icon was very suitable. Ronald Mcdonald is certainly no Jesus Christ, but I imagine somewhere some kid is seeing the fast food icon every Sunday. That kid must feel a sense of sensational reverence for the image of Ronald. A sensation that can often be found in... paganism.
All art works seeking to offend or enlighten deserve at least to be understood. For at the end of the day I do believe that the artist creates art not to save anyone else, but instead create art to save themselves.