William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, held a news conference outside an art gallery in
Midtown Manhattan to denounce one of the works of art on display there: a 1987 photograph of a crucifix immersed in a jar of urine.
But, when Mr. Donohue tried to enter the exhibition, the gallery would not allow him in, he said in a blog post. No one else was barred from entering the gallery, he whinged: Just me.
The amber-hued photograph, Immersion (Piss Christ) , has inflamed passions since the New York artist Andres Serrano first displayed it in 1989.
All of which is ironic, Serrano said in an interview. For him, he said, the work is about his personal love of Jesus, and Jesus' bodily torment on the cross, during which, Serrano believes, not only blood, but all Jesus bodily fluids, including urine,
The Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery is displaying 25 of Serrano's works in a retrospective. The controversial piece is being displayed behind bulletproof glass.
Donohue said he decided to protest it now to point out that while the White House condemned the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims, which recently led to global protests, it had not condemned Serrano's work as offensive to Catholics.
Donohue also recorded a video in which he held up a clear jar containing a bobblehead doll of President Obama and a brown substance that Donohue said represented feces. The point, he said, is that the cultural and political elite are basically
secularist; they don't believe in God. This is their god, he said, pointing at the jar.