Russia Bans Mickey Mouse Jesus Painting

1 Sep

Mickey Mouse as Jesus Christ

From Deseret News:

The Kaluga Region court has banned as extremist a painting by Alexander Savko that depicts the Sermon on the Mount with Mickey Mouse sitting on a rock surrounded by halo-clad disciples and admiring onlookers, reports RIA Novosti.

The story’s been covered in Business Insider Europe as well, which provides this handy link to a LiveJournal page which provides the image I’ve displayed above. Plus, a couple years before the image was banned, two prominent Russian intellectuals were found guilty “of inciting religious and ethnic hatred in an exhibition called “Forbidden Art — 2006,” which displayed works that had been banned by Russian museums” including this same painting (New York Times).

Traveling to Germany last month, I was struck by the number and style of irreverent iconic Disney images.

I'm Watching You Mickey Logo

Street art in Heidelberg, photo courtesy of Mr. Broke Hoedown

Scrooge Diving into Money

Unknown gallery in Munich, photo courtesy of Mr. Broke Hoedown

Donald Duck Capitalist

Unknown gallery in Munich, photo courtesy of Mr. Broke Hoedown

So, am I offended by the Mickey Jesus image? As a person who respects many faiths, I do feel a bit tweaked and disconcerted when I look at it.

I believe that one of art’s many roles is to challenge the viewer. And what I’m really offended by is the reality of what it portrays: That consumerism has trumped spiritual life for many people. As Savko told the Huffington Post:

THE PUPROSE OF THIS PAINTING IS NOT ABUSE OF CHRIST AND NOT ABUSE OF CHRISTIANS. THIS IS DISPLAYING OF CURRENT REALITY: THE SUBSTITUTION OF HUMAN SPIRITUAL, MORAL VALUES WITH MASS-CULTURAL VALUES.

Mickey Mouse is a cultural icon (as are some of his buds); his image belongs to the global, visual language of artistic expression.

One Response to “Russia Bans Mickey Mouse Jesus Painting”

  1. Becca September 4, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    A little creepy, but as a Christian, I’m really not offended. The worship of cultural icons is an interesting point to consider!

    The Heidelberg one makes me think of Henry Werk and his paranoia about the biometrics at WDW ;)

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