Friday, January 04, 2008

New Art Book Shows Gay Jesus and Female Christ

Here is the original news release for the publication of Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More. It was issued on June 1, 2007, before the Jesus in Love Blog was launched. It is posted here now to ensure that people will continue to have access to it.

BERKELEY, CA -- June 1, 2007 -- Art that shows Jesus as gay or female has been censored, but now these stunning images by 11 artists fill a beautifully illustrated new art book.

Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More by Kittredge Cherry is packed with color images by 11 contemporary artists from the United States and Europe. Their art shines a spiritual light on justice for women and LGBT people.

An online gallery of selected images from the book has just been added to Cherry’s website,

“Christ belongs to everyone,” says Cherry, an art historian and lesbian Christian author. “The gay Jesus and the woman Christ are here to free and empower people who feel left out when Jesus is presented as a straight man.”

The 11 artists in Art That Dares are a diverse group. They work both inside and outside the church, but all of their art respects the teachings of Jesus.

In the book, the artists tell the stories behind their images, including censorship, hate mail, violence, death threats, and vandalism that destroyed their work. A lively introduction puts the art into political and historical context, exploring issues of blasphemy and artistic freedom.

“These new images are much needed now because Christian rhetoric is used to justify discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” Cherry explains.

Explicitly queer Christian imagery in Art That Dares includes photos of Jesus with contemporary LGBT people by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin of Sweden, a 24-panel gay vision of the Passion by New York painter F. Douglas Blanchard, and the notorious “faggot crucifixion” painting by Atlanta’s Becki Jayne Harrelson. Gary Speziale sculpts a sensuous moment between a nude Adam and the new Adam, while Alex Donis shows Jesus kissing a Hindu god.

Female Christ figures in the book range from Edwina Sandys’ famous bronze crucifix Christa to Janet McKenzie’s award-winning Jesus of the People, which Sister Wendy of PBS chose to represent Christ in the new millennium. Jill Ansell and Sandra Yagi use the symbolism of the cross to explore the suffering of women.

Cherry operates, which offers spiritual resources for LGBT people and their allies. She was at the forefront of the sexuality debate at the National Council of Churches (USA) and the World Council of Churches as National Ecumenical Officer for Metropolitan Community Churches. She holds degrees in journalism, art history, and religion.

Cherry’s other books include Jesus in Love, Hide and Speak, Equal Rites and Womansword. The New York Times Book Review praised her “very graceful, erudite” writing style.

Art That Dares (ISBN 1-933993-29-4) is published by AndroGyne Press, a new queer studies press in Berkeley, CA. Ingram Book Group distributes it.

For more information, contact or, or visit: or

Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More
By Kittredge Cherry
Publisher: AndroGyne Press
Paperback with color images: 100 pages
Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
Price: $38.95
ISBN: 1-933993-29-4
Publication date: Sept. 1, 2007
Distributed by: Ingram Book Group

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