[Art-Online] Art 54 - Assignment 2: New Art

Robert DeMartini robdemartini at

Sat Aug 21 10:27:18 PDT 2004

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- Alma Lopez – An Artists Website

Choosing controversial art as a subject helps me understand what the motives behind art truly are. How does an artist choose the subject matter, what feelings instigate what their message is, and is their art just sensational or is it meaningful?

Alma Lopez was at the center of controversy when she displayed her digital art piece titled, “Our Lady” at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001 (featured at the bottom of the website). It depicted an Hispanic woman in a flower-clad bikini; an obvious updated depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe that depicts an image of the Virgin Mary; an image that was burned onto an 1531 Mexico Native Indian’s cloak as an aberration from the God Mother.

Alma claims, “In re-creating a ‘beautiful and strong’ version of Guadalupe with Our Lady, I was only following in the footsteps of other Chicano artists who imagined the Virgin as something more than a static image borrowed wholesale from the late Middle Ages.”

As I have always found myself on the fence of controversial art and its public funding, I constantly try to gather feedback from the artists themselves to understand their intent. With Alma’s piece, I do feel she was just passing on her interpretation of something that was inspirational or; moreover, culturally present in her life and passed it on through her art interpretation.

Ironically, when the original Our Lady of Guadalupe was first cast into the cloak through supposed divine intervention, it was at the epitome of Christian controversy. -Robert DeMartini