Catholic League President Bill Donohue said Wednesday that a photographic exhibit featuring porn stars such as Stormy Daniels posing as the Virgin Mary constitutes “the latest artistic assault on Christianity.”
The exhibit of the work of Nika Nesgoda, which Donahue called an “expression of hate” for Christians, goes on display Thursday at an art gallery called the Spur in the Long Island town of Southampton.
For her photographs, Ms. Nesgoda dressed adult film actresses in the costumes of old master paintings of the Virgin Mary, according to the East Hampton Star, which praised the “striking visuals” of her artwork.
“The rich and famous will have the opportunity of seeing Nesgoda’s masterpiece, ‘Virgin.’ It is a doctored photographic exhibit featuring porn stars such as Stormy Daniels posing as the Virgin Mary,” Donahue laments.
Whereas taking potshots at Christianity shows little courage and even less imagination, Ms. Nesgoda could be truly avant-garde and innovative, Donahue suggests, by playing with Islamic imagery rather than Christian iconography.
“Why doesn’t she do an exhibit called ‘Muhammad’ that features Harvey Weinstein and Anthony Weiner as the prophet?” Donahue prods. “That might attract a crowd, but I’d make sure to call the bomb squad first.”
Ms. Nesgoda said her work is a reaction against her own Catholic upbringing.
“I was steeped in the church’s iconography and the suspicion and guilt and everything that goes along with that iconography,” she said.
“It was something I had to get out,” Nesgoda said. “It was in me for a long time and it felt good just to do it. I’m not really a provocative person.”
Although the series of photographs is now 16 years old, it is being exhibited anew, thanks to recent media attention on Stormy Daniels.
Moreover, Nesgoda said a Jesuit priest and a religious sister gave their blessing for the work.
“When working on this, I had Catholic guilt, so I went to speak with a Jesuit priest and a nun I knew,” she said. “I asked if it was okay for me to do this. They said we are all human and everyone strays from the path, no one is without sin, and these women are worthy.”
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