May 27, 2001

Subject: la times today
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 08:23:57 EDT
To: almalopez@earthlink.netTo the Artist:

Having read a number of articles on your interpretation of the traditional Our Lady of Guadalupe, I "knew" your work was trashy, etc. Having actually now viewed your piece of art, I am using my time to share with you my response, assuming this type of feedback to be of some help to you during the now resolved crisis in Santa Fe (i.e. the decision made this past week to continue to show your work this year - giving me plenty of time now to see it in person!)

1. My relevant personal background: raised Catholic, caucasion and non- gay/lesbian (adding this only because of the reference to this in so many places as being relevant the art work mentioned here)

2. I have absolutely believed in and loved the story and traditional representations of Our Lady of Guadalupe since I was a teenager in North Carolina. Such depictions have always included beautiful red roses .

3. Your work of art depicts a beautifully real woman. In her you have created a visual and external representation of who I am: a woman who can choose to surround herself with beauty and goodness both internally and externally. Your work shows you already know this. I believe those who see something less worthy in this art piece are looking at the same picture as I while actually seeing something within themselves.

Thanks to the LA Times for this article and to you for adding to the traditional depiction of a female/feminine ideal as good,caring and gentle by showing us also what sensual components make for a more complete representation of a woman.

M. Murray


Subject: Get Noticed
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 06:38:44 -0700
From: Christopher <>

I think you have come up with a clever way to get noticed. A great way to put your self on the map. I have to admit, I am a little jealous I did not think of it. The Irony is your piece has a way of invoking a kind of exploitation of God as well as women. Maybe this is piece gives a still male dominated sex inhibited society a new way to look at its gender based exploitation.

What's next... Jesus in a G-string.

Christopher Hall
Los Angeles, CA


Subject: Congratulations from Randy Pesqueira
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 11:20:20 EDT

Hey Alma,

Greetings Guerilla Girl, it has been too long. I am very proud of your work and was excited to see that you have inspired all of this dialogue. I just read Gurza's piece on you in the Calendar section, thanks for the publishing the web address, I had lost your phone number and was just figuring out how I could get ahold of you. I want a copy of your print!

It's weird to hear the press and the critics describe you and your work - I am sorry you are in the position of having to defend it - but I know where your heart is, and your respect for the image of the Virgin, and I know you just meant to create good artwork. I love her attitude! and YOURS of course.

Imagine the old men of the Catholic Church thinking they have the right to dictate anything about imagery or censorship, look at what they've done over the centuries beginning with the Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the destruction of the history of Mexico.

If you need help on anything, let me know. Are you planning any exhibitions soon?



Subject: Your Virgen de Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:23:48 -0700
From: milena <>
To: <>

Hi Alma

I am a Latina woman who feels proud to see another woman standing for her right of free expression. Your Virgen de Gudalupe is a beautiful art expression with a strong message about women and their right to be proud of our bodies and to do with them as we please. I wish more women will have the courage to express themselves as you have done. Congratulations!



Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:26:29 -0700
From: "thomas impelluso" <>
To: <>Yo!
First, let me say that you should put up a picture of Bernini's Ecstacy of St. Theresa... In fact... why not?  I mean, here is a sculpture of St Theresa, in what looks like an orgasm, being pierced by the staff of a male angel.  Take that image, dress it up, make the angel black, make St. Theresa asian, make the staff.. well... I better stop.
Let me say this...
I was once gay.  I remember going into bathouses and while they played Madonna's "Like a Prayer", would engage in these huge orgies... that was, what, 10 years ago...
I have since mellowed... the eroticism now comes out in spirituality.
Being with men, has helped me love men for their strength and weaknesses.
(I, first, thank God, I never got a disease from all that).
Today, I see my eroticism and spirtuality, fuse and harmonize.  It is a gift I give my wife, the woman I love. 
I am grateful that artists like you are in this world... doing the spiritual work of Bernini and Michelangelo...
Keep it up!


Subject: and
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:30:06 -0700
From: "thomas impelluso" <>
To: <>

I also think you will gain more by emphasizing the words of the good men who support you, and neglecting the idiot men who do not support you.
Men have been wounded too...


Subject: Total and complete support!!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 15:01:43 EDT

Hello Alma,

Just wanted to voice my support for you in this time. I am a transaplanted Angeleno living in New Mexico and have seen all the coverage on the news. I encourage and support your artistic expression as well as all free speech issues. Wish you luck in the future!!!

William Husted
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Subject: Our Lady
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 15:43:21 EDT

Dear Ms. Lopez --

I saw the article regarding your work and the controversy in New Mexico in today's LA Times.  (Which in turn brought me to your website where I could view the art in question a bit better.)  

First, the image is powerful, wonderful.  I hope to travel to New Mexico to view the exhibit by the end of June.  I've sent off emails to MOIFA protesting the it's early closure.

Secondly, the censorship and heavy-handed methods used to coerce compliance are abhorrent.  

Best wishes for success,

--Shaunna Kelley-Zavala, writer


Subject: Censorship
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:06:42 EDT

Dear Alma,

Thanks for fighting the good fight for all of us who believe in free expression. You have more support than you know. I will be letting these folks know how I feel about their efforts to deny you your rights, which were paid for with the blood of our fathers and mothers.  dan


Subject: our lady uproar
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:35:49 EDT

Ms. Lopez:

Though I am a former Catholic, I still have strong, positive feelings for the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  The fact that she is traditionally represented as an indigenous woman has offered great emotional sustenance to a people invaded, raped and enslaved by the Spaniards.  That being said, I am also a writer who believes strongly in the freedom of expression.  

Personally, on an artistic level, I appreciate and understand your image of the Virgin.  I think the work offers a positive, modern and provocative representation that we, as Mexicans, might take for granted because she has been an omnipresent image in our homes, schools and other places in our communities.  One of the roles of the artist is to offer a new way of looking at things that we no longer see.  I applaud your work and I am happy that Agustin Gurza featured you in his L. A. Times article.

Daniel A. Olivas
Web Page:


Subject: Vigin of Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 13:37:21 -0700
From: "vipat3" <>
To: <>

Dear Alma:
The depiction you created in your Virgin of Guadalupe says more about you, your emotions & feelings than it does about the Lady who appeared to Juan Diego.
Media print describes you as a feminist artist wanting to show the sacred embracing the secular.  But, didn't Mary do just that, didn't she embrace the world  when she consented to bear the son of God?  Certainly Our Lady is strong - - that's no doubt why God counted on her courage and strength, inner & outer, and her love for Him to say yes to His call.  She was prepared with the grace of God to deal with her spouse to be, her family, her friends and the culture she knew.  God had a purpose and this was foremost to Mary.
In 1531, I think that was the year, she  appeared (by the grace of God) and spoke to Juan Diego; she had a message and most importantly she chose the clothes, the colors, and the image of herself that she wanted on Juan's cape.  Shouldn't her preferences count?   I believe, Alma, that Our Lady cares about you and loves you very much as she did Juan - - and cares about all God's children. 
Perhaps, Alma, just perhaps, you may wish to talk more to Our Lady in your quiet time and develop your relationship even more.  In all her earth apparitions, she has embraced God's children; at Fatima almost 400 years later, she appeared with Jesus and even St. Joseph in one apparition.  Her message and heart are  always fixed on God and eternal life.
Vi Patmas
Mission Viejo, California


Subject: you go girl!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 13:38:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D. Magallon" <>

We are constantly being told to conform. Well, fine. Let's conform to the Constitution. That precious document which let's us express ourselves. Those wonderful tennets outlining how there is a separation between church and state. Was this not done so that we may flee religious persecution? Are we not allowed to dissent with other religious views? Was the founding of this country not implicit on the church NOT telling us what to do?

Yes, while viewing your piece I had a discussion with my madre. She doesn't like it, but neither can she articulate why that is. Stubborn tradition is good for what it's worth. It is beginning to interfere with our reasoning abilities. She won't take communion from any server who isn't the priest. She cannot articulate her reasons beihnd this one either.

Irrationality, or fear of breaking with tradition?

It is up to us, Latinos in the US, to create the path our heritage will take. Embrace the old, yes, but educate them whence we can. Please do not capitulate to the most rabid of our people. Some of us still use reasoning and logic as the basis for our thinking. I guess its just up to us to ensure that the others are at least exposed to it.

Delia Magallón

Subject: Virgiiiin Mary
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:01:23 -0500
From: cbayless <>

I have to agree with you totally, Alma. And I really can't digest an "immaculate conception"


Subject: The painting
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:05:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: (Dana Garland)

I am not Catholic so I am not into The Madonna, but I think that it is awful that you would belittle a person's religion, and try to justify it with such a lame excuse. I am most offended though because I am female, and am so tired of women exploited themselves, it's bad enough that the world treats us as a sexual toy, and then there are women like you and your model degrading us even more. (to the model) I am very sorry you were raped and your mother did not understand, that no matter want, it was not your fault that an immoral moron took advantage of you, but you should get more therapy before you try to help other females, so you could stop tyring to get even with your mother and learn to forgive her ignorance of the facts. The both of you are only doing more to perpetuate the fact that we are nothing more then a piece of meat. Why can't a strong woman have clothes on? There is no shame in the human body, male or female because God made us all. Adam and Eve lost that right in the Garden of Eden, to run around naked when sin came into the world and God covered them.

If you have REAL TALENT paint something different and use your GOD given talent in the right way, without mocking someone's religious beliefs or degrading females. Please both of you seek God and stop trying to justify immorality.

Have a blessed day


Subject: "Our Lady" or "Your Lady?"
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:27:54 -0500
From: "Michael Rossa" <>
To: <>

You do not need to title your work "Our Lady" because it is not our lady; it is your lady. It is your sick little eogcentric trip of a perception you have. You did it just to be different and an iconoclast. I hope you're prepared to meet the Blessed Virgin's son at the end of your life. Truth is, you probably will sooner than you think. I am a woman and find your porn angel disgusting. You are not what I consider to be an artist or woman who speaks for other women or hispanics in this country. It is rather self-interest and sensationalism you seek. You instead degrade the two groups. This so-called art you have created should me titled "My Lady" because she (or whatever it is) in no way belongs to anyone other than you! I believe you to be santanic in spirit.
Debra A. Rossa
A Catholic and former resident of New Mexico


Subject: Your imaging of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 16:59:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Un Brujito <>


If you call your rendition of the Virgin of Guadalupe art, then all I can say to you and about you is that you are one sick individual.

You certainly have a complete lack of imagination.


Subject: "Our Lady" by Alma Lopez
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 17:49:39 -0700
From: "Jerry Olson" <>
To: <>
CC: <>

I read the L.A.Times article on your work in the Calendar section of that paper today and must say, I admire the stand you have taken for your art and for freedom of artistic expression. I'm happy that you gave us an update. My Lady of Guadalupe, in tile, on my balcony, needs to be brought into the 21st century. It also needs some repair; it's falling apart. I'd gladly replace it with your rendition. I thought you work tasteful yet at the same time, reflects what you want it to reflect, e.g., a moving away from a hang-down head to a perky stance that says: I'm a real woman, I'm alive and I'm comfortable with being a 21st century Mexican woman or woman of Mexican extraction. Keep up the good work. AVE OUR LADY.

Jerry Olson
Huntington Beach



Subject: mary
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:49:35 -0400
From: "Gerald Lundy" <>
To: <>

I think your painting is provocative and beautiful. makes me look at mary as a person, not an icon.
Gerald Lundy

Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:38:50 -0400
From: Marcia E Warmkessel <>

The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 12 says "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful". Verse 15 goes on to say, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Human bodies are beautiful; God created them that way. He created one man and one woman to enjoy each other fully in the safe boundaries of a covenant relationship called "marriage". Our bodies are not meant to be shown to all.

So why do so many artists wish to interpret Jesus, Mary, and others in sexually-explicit ways? (and then claim that it is not sexually-explicit) This is not a freedom of expression issue; this is not a cultural rights issue. It is simply offensive to depict God's beautiful creations in such a way. You and I are all created in His image. Why do we need to defile and exploit what He made so wonderful?

It may be lawful, but it is not helpful to hurt or enrage those who take the sanctity of God's Word or His people seriously. Furthermore, there is nothing powerful about a naked woman of any culture being shown off like a prize. It is demeaning and devalues the truth of what God created all women to be. You can hide it under the title of "art" or under the title of "rights of expression". But let's face it. It is shock value and attention-seeking. To this the Word says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud" Proverbs 16:18-19.

God made so many talented artists of various media whose work was meant to be enjoyed. Rejoice in your talent. Please neither hurt others or offend God with the gifts which He has blessed you.



Subject: Too casual?
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:47:11 -0500
From: "John C. King" <>
To: <>

I wonder if some people are put off because the woman in your figure looks too casual, with her hands on her hips and one hip to the side.
John C. King


Subject: Distasteul art.
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 00:27:10 -0300
From: (Harvey Lord)

What I see you as doing is making fun of my religion. You are mocking one of our most religious figures in an effort to draw attention to yourself. You care not for the feelings or religions of others. Because of your refusal to remove this picture, I refuse to knowling go any place your work might be on display and encourage my people to do likewise.


Subject: Hi there!
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: joseph melendrez <>
To: Alma Lopez <>

I bet your stressed out, huh? Your situation is kind of funny, though. Well, maybe not funny to you. I doubt if you hurt Mary's feelings. Being the Queen of Heaven, she is above it all. Way above it. She no doubt loves you more than ever. God works in strange ways so this might have something to do with your salvation.

I read the Calender article and your statement. It occurred to me that you and Mary will be forever linked together and there is nothing you can do about it. That may or not please you, but I think that it is a good position in which to be.

The ironic thing is that the very thing that you accuse Mary of being is her greatest strenght. Rather than being a strong woman, she chose to be humble. She knew that when we are at our weakest, God is at his strongest. And the sin the God loaths more than the others is pride. At the first scent of pride, God disappears and is no longer in our presence. God chose Mary to be his spouse because of her humility. It drew him to her. He found it irresistable. In her humility, she was made the Queen of Heaven and Earth. And she plays a huge role in the salvation of the world. She is also known as the Queen of Mercies. While her son dispenses justice to the world, she dispenses mercy and graces. Mary is both the mother of Jesus and our mother. When we pray to Mary, she in turn takes our prayers to her son and pleads our case. Since Mary is the perfect mother and Jesus is the perfect son, he cannot say no to his mother. (Unless it is not in our best interest). Only she knows what pleases him and how to win over him over. The reason Mary appears the way she does or how she appeared on Juan Diego's tunic is because she wants us to be humble. She is our role model. And humble is how God wants us to be because then he can be with us and in us. Jesus' promise to us is to be in paradise. Paradise for God is to be in a pure soul.

I hope this answers any questions you might have in regards to the Virgin Mary.

Good luck,
Joe Melendrez
Brentwood, California


Subject: regarding your art work
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 23:15:25 -0600
From: "." <>
To: <>

I think it's beautiful, I don't understand what people have a problem with. For years the female body and breast have been shown in movies with an abundance and without any cloths. I think this is a very tasteful work of art, maybe people have a problem because a female artist created the picture and not a man; considering this world is full of double standards when it comes to male and female behavior and/or actions.  Keep your chin up and keep creating art work as beautiful as this. :0) 

Kathy  :)


Subject: wanting to purchase
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:33:24 -0700
To: "''" <>

Hola Alma: Keep up the great work. You have my support. I am very proud of your work. How can I purchase your work do you have a list and a price list. I went through your web site I only found a price for your t shirt thanks
Margaret Quinones


Subject: Desde Guadalupe (España)
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 10:57:01 +0200
From: "Antonio Picon Romero" <>
To: <>

Dear Alma:
This is from a Spanish surfer. I don't understand this mess about a masterpiece. Do those who claim against your work know how the Virgin Mary looked like? I think she was an hebrew woman (dark skin of course) conscious of her body and who had to nurse her son (with breasts, I imagine).

This is to encourage you to keep going ahead. Don't feel afraid of expressing your vision. The truth is Amercia is importing the worst aspects of Europe: Religous intolerance and religious attempts of controling social life.
Go ahead and forget those in possession of absolute truth (as the nazis also thought of themselves).
Animo y sigue adelante ! 


Subject: relevant and beautiful
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 22:42:52 -0700
From: "S. Sligh" <>
To: <>

I must say that I am grateful for the controversy that surrounds this piece for one largely selfish reason; were it not for the protests that have been raised I would likely never have seen your work.  As a (non-Latino) white male, I am touched by this piece not only because I find it beautiful, but also by what it teaches me about the experience of the artist.  This insight and sharing between people and across cultures seem to me to be of vital importance (maybe now more than ever.)  I truly believe that art, and very often that art which breaks from tradition or rules most of all, has the power to teach, heal, connect, and potentially elevate us as individuals and as people in a way that would not otherwise be possible.
I am grateful that you are so willing and determined to share your artistic vision and your voice, most especially when there are, sadly, so many unable/unwilling to hear.  I wish you the best with this, and future endeavors.
Shane Sligh
San Diego, CA