Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More Blake prize controversy

A judge in the annual Blake Prize for religious art is believed to have resigned over his objections to a painting of the crucifixion that another judge also described as "really offensive".

The Age reports the nation's top prize for religious art is again embroiled in controversy after its judges fell out over the selection of a painting of the crucifixion.

It is understood that one of the Blake Prize judges, academic Christopher Allen, has resigned from the panel over his vehement objections to Sydney artist Adam Cullen's work.

The triptych shows Christ on the cross with the inscription "only woman bleed", inspired by a line from an Alice Cooper song.

Cullen said he was contacted yesterday and told that Dr Allen had resigned in protest over the work's selection for the $20,000 prize.

Dr Allen could not be contacted yesterday about his views on Cullen.

But at a judging session on Friday, he admitted he was not a fan of the artist's work.

"It has a kind of deliberate ugliness which has been exploited as a gimmick. This isn't a personal preference, it's a judgement," he said.

Another judge, academic Kathleen McPhillips, described the work as "really offensive".

Most of the entries this year are benign religious images, The Age says, but one of the more provocative works is a picture of Melbourne party boy Corey Worthington as Jesus.

"Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of man, and Corey was crucified by the media to pay for the sins of the MySpace generation," said Sydney photographer Dean Sewell, who created the image.


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