Sebastian Errazuriz has used art to take on an array of issues: New York’s death rate, the Occupy movement, military suicide, children with disabilities, the brutal reign of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Now, the Brooklyn-based artist is taking aim at what he sees as religious extremism.
At a party this weekend celebrating New York Design Week, which begins today, the Chilean-born artist plans to hand out 100 “Christian Popsicles” made of “frozen holy wine transformed into the blood of Christ” and featuring a crucifix instead the tongue depressor that typically hosts the frozen treats, he said.
An image of Jesus Christ positioned traditionally on the cross is visible once the ice pop is consumed. As for the frozen wine, Errazuriz said, he concealed it in a cooler and took it into a church, where it was “inadvertently blessed by the priest while turning wine into the blood of Christ during the Eucharist.”
While many of the pieces are provocative, none is quite so controversial as Jesus on a Popsicle stick. No stranger to controversy, Errazuriz said his intention isn’t to upset people.
“It’s not that I purposely want to get in trouble. I just believe if you are not doing work that can make people stop, think and discuss, then it’s better not to make any work at all,” he said.
Raised in a Catholic household, Errazuriz is now a “practicing atheist,” but he has many friends and family members who are religious, and he respects their beliefs. He has always been vexed by religion, however, particularly the practitioners who wish to force their beliefs on others.
Today, he feels that America is growing more extreme in its dogma, which is “holding a growing influence over American politics.” He is especially unnerved by demands that U.S. leaders “publicly profess their faith in their god and enforce laws that defend the ideology of the Bible over individual liberties,” he said.
His frozen cocktails stand as a symbol, he said, an invitation to “drink the Kool-Aid” that he feels so many religious zealots are stirring up.
Stick Mohammed on them and I’ll be impressed with his brave, courageous stand against “all religions.” As this stands, it’s just a run of the mill attack on a faith that doesn’t issue fatwas.