Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Queer Creation in art: Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve?

"Adam and Steve in Hawaii" by Tony de Carlo, 2013

(This post was written for the Queer Theology Synchroblog 2013.)

Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve? Artist Tony De Carlo affirms the goodness of same-sex love by painting the original gay couple.

He reimagines the Biblical creation story from a queer viewpoint. It’s visual theology in response to those who oppose LGBT rights with the foolish argument that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

De Carlo has done more than 20 paintings of Adam and Steve as the original gay couple. I am posting some of them today for the annual Queer Theology Synchroblog. The theme this year is “Queer Creation.” A synchroblog is when a group of people all write about the same topic on the same day and post it to their personal blogs. We are creating our own queer versions of the creation myth.

De Carlo is a native of Los Angeles, now living in Savannah, Georgia. Raised Catholic, he started painting religious subjects to counteract the church’s demonization of LGBT people. His paintings confront the hypocrisy of the church, which has a long history of homoerotic images but condemns homosexuality. His work is exhibited regularly in museums and galleries throughout the United States.

Watch the relationship between Adam and Steve unfold -- usually with the snake and forbidden fruit from the creation story in Genesis.

“Adam Y Steve” by Tony De Carlo

“Adam And Steve In Eden” by Tony De Carlo

"Adam and Yves" by Tony de Carlo

“Adam and Steve, Ants and Bees” by Tony de Carlo, 2013

"Domestic Life of Adam and Steve" by Tony de Carlo

"Adam and Steve and Child" by Tony de Carlo, 2013

"Adam and Steve on the Farm" by Tony de Carlo

“Adam and Steve and the Banana Tree” by Tony De Carlo

“Adam and Steve in 14 Countries” by Tony De Carlo shows them on an island made of flags from the countries that recognized marriage equality when he painted it earlier this year.

For more on Tony De Carlo and his art, see my previous post:
Gay saints, Adam & Steve, and marriage equality art affirms LGBT love: Tony De Carlo Interview.

Check out the other entries 
in the Queer Theology Synchroblog

Queering Our Reading of the Bible by Chris Henrichsen

Queer Creation in art: Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve? by Kittrdge Cherry

Of The Creation of Identity (Also the Creation of Religion) by Colin & Terri

God, the Garden, & Gays: Homosexuality in Genesis by Brian G. Murphy, for Queer Theology

Created Queerly–Living My Truth by Casey O’Leary

Creating Theology by Fr. Shannon Kearns

Initiation by Blessed Harlot

B’reishit: The Divine Act of Self-Creation by Emily Aviva Kapor

Queer Creation: Queering the Image of God by Alan Hooker

Queer Creation by Ric Stott

Eunuch-Inclusive Esther–Queer Theology 101 by Peterson Toscano

Valley of Dry Bones by Jane Brazelle

Queer Creation: Queer Angel by Tony Street

The Great Welcoming by Anna Spencer

Queer Creation by Billy Flood

The Mystery of an Outlandishly Queer Creation by Susan Cottrell

We’ve Been Here All Along by Brian Gerald Murphy

God Hirself: A Theology by T. Thorn Coyle

Related links:

Tony De Carlo on Facebook

This post is part of the Artists series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series profiles artists who use lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer spiritual and religious imagery.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts


Brian G. Murphy said...

Over the past few years, I've been trying to claim theology as my own. To find myself in it as a queer person in a way that stands, that doesn't react to the anti-gay arguments. I want to talk about theology on my own terms, ya know?

And in the midst of all that... I didn't even realize that I was surrendering ground on "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." I've always just focused on the other attributes of the creation story.

THANK YOU for this and for daring to say "Maybe God did create Adam and Steve." I so needed that.

Liz said...

I love the look and message of this art!! Thanks for sharing!!

Kittredge Cherry said...

It’s strange how we have to keep peeling away layers of anti-gay interpretations to get to spiritual truth. I find it is a never-ending process that has unexpected rewards. Brian, it’s an honor to get a compliment from one of the organizers of the Queer Synchroblog. You’re welcome.

Liz, thank you for taking time to share your enthusiasm in a comment. I know you speak for many others because this post has gotten a lot more traffic than usual.

Jaclyn Kozan said...

I am mortified by this site. Looking at these paintings as well as the gay passion of the Christ, makes me tremble knowing that this is utter blasphemy. If you are acknowledging that Christ was real and argue for the fact that he is truth, you cannot deny the fact that he read from the word and used it against religious leaders when they were criticising or attacking him. He quotes scriptire all the time, and what this site lacks is insight into what is truth. You either take scripture out of context or choose to disregard it completely. You can't believe in Christ without believing his Word ( the Bible). From a young age Jesus went and studied the scriptures so that He would be used to influence, encourage and teach the word of God to the people.

Look at Luke 11:28, John 10:35, You can not possibly believe without engaging the word for it is eternal and truth that God has given to us to know him deeper.

It is turth that God made Adam and Eve because the bible tells it as such. You won't agree with this because you want so deeply for the opposite (Adam and Steve), yet there is no scriptual evidence to back it up. Adam was made by God out of dust and from him God took a rib out of Adam and made women. Check out Genesis 2.
Without realizing that the Bible is truth it is impossible to have a discussion about the reality of these claims. What I say will mean nothing unless the scriptures are regarded as holy, perfect and once again, truth. I can't stress it enough.
I appreciate the questions about who the Lord is and ideas because even with the bible we will never know completely who the Lord is. Yet because he has given the word as a gift to us, we are able to use it and find out deeper who Jesus is and the hope he brings to our world which is darkended by sin. We need Jesus, I need Him. I have questions, and that is okay.
As you read scripture though you find that it is abolation to him to not regard his word and to not obey his commandments. God is a God of Love, but he is also a God of Justice. Jesus is returning soon, ( we won't know when) buit we need to be prepared. Because on the day where we are judged face to face with our Father in Heaven we need to be prepared. It is not a matter of having more good outweigh the bad in our life, or about living as a "good person." He looks at our heart. We are all sinners, and we need to hungerly surrender to Him. Jesus died so that we could be saved and escape the penalty of our sins. He allows us to be forgiven as we choose to turn from sin.
I am not perfect, and there are things that The Lord helps me realize in my life that I need to change so that I can walk with him deeper. He desires a personal relationship ( not a sexual relationship) with us, his chidlren who he cares for deeply. If we acknowledge that he is Lord of our lives we must be willing to look at what is blinding us from seeing Him deeper.
Please brothers and sisters, you don't know me, nor I you, but I urge you to seek the Lord and what truth is. I will pray for God's mercy for this site, and that He will meet each and every one of you in a personal way to wake up from the lies we have been decieved by. We are in desperate need of our Saviour to return. The world will continue to lose site of what is right and wrong (as predicted in the book of Romans), but it's not to late to turn from our sins and walk with him. He gives us the free gift. Please don't take this note lightly. God cares about you, but He will not take the judgemnet day lightly. Don nopt be scared into accepting Christ, but instead embrace his grace and forgiveness that he offers freely and turn away from sin. I feel this is a big deal and our society this day is majorly skewed to how the Lord has intended us to live. Please friends, Talk to God, He is always there.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Jaclyn, I know that the Bible doesn’t literally say God created Adam and Steve. But I believe that some people are born gay. This is how God created them. And the Bible does say that all believers are the body of Christ. Jesus himself said whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me. In this way Adam, Steve and all LGBT Christians were created by God.

You say that “what this site lacks is insight into what is truth,” but I could say the same about you. Here is a link to an article that explains how I see the Bible:

The Bible and Gays: Is it a sin to be gay? Did Jesus condemn homosexuality?