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Court of the Dead

May 14, 2016

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Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission Member Throws Hissy Fit Over Mark Ryden Paintings; Tries to Ban Art from Show

Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission member Ben Loyola (pictured above and featured in clip below) literally shat his pants when he saw a couple Mark Ryden paintings that were slated to be shown at the Virginia Beach Contemporary Art Show on May 21.

"Loyola is concerned that Ryden, in his work, pokes fun of religion."

“I am really not poking fun at religion. I am just looking at it in different ways,” Ryden said. “Someone ought to poke fun at those Christians, though.”

Read the post here.

Wonder what Ben Loyola thinks about the Mel Gibson film Passion of the Christ? That shit was fucking brutal and makes Mark Ryden paintings look like fluffy bunnies in comparison. But that's a movie, and we're comparing apples to oranges there... let's take a look at Caravaggio, an Italian painter from the 1600s who could rightly be described as a master:

Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio
The scene above is from the book of Judith, in the Old Testament. Notice the blood spewing from Holofernes' neck... pretty fucked up.

But that's nothing compared to ANOTHER widely recognized master: Hieronymous Bosch, who was a Dutch painter born in 1450. Bosch painted one of my all-time favorite paintings, a triptych, called the Garden of Earthly Delights:

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a giant painting in 3 parts, and it's hard to see the details here (just Google it). I'll show you a close-up:

The Garden of Earthly Delights is full of sex, people being eaten alive, sodomy and violence. And much more. It's a goddamned mess. It's been widely discussed, interpreted in various ways, studied, loved and hated. The point here is... how can we accept the Caravaggio piece or the Bosch piece as valid and important artwork, and then consider the Mark Ryden paintings as blasphemous? 

Hypocrisy of the highest order!

Hi-Fructose has pointed out to me on Twitter that the show will not be censored and will run as planned, including the Ryden works. This guy Ben Loyola is sticking his uneducated foot in his own big mouth. He should thank the deity of his choice that such an all-star group of artists will be showing in his town. It's an impressive roster, by any measure. Ryden fits right in.

Support your local artist!

Here's the page for the actual event which takes place on May 21 (note that Mark Ryden is still in the flyer). 

If you feel like expressing your disapproval or support to Ben Loyola, here's his contact info. We don't judge. But know that if you support censoring artwork based on your personal preferences, once you go down that rabbit hole, there's literally no form of self expression that's safe. Art, words, music... censor one for Puritanical reasons, and they all fall like dominoes.


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