Virginia Arts Commissioners Threaten to Defund Museum Over “Anti-Christian” Paintings

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Members of a Virginia arts commission are calling a pair of Mark Ryden paintings blasphemous and threatening to slash funding for the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) for including them in a forthcoming show. The offending works are the pop-surrealist artist’s “Fountain” (2003) and “Rosie’s Tea Party” (2005), which both show young, doll-like girls in unsettling scenes: In the former, a figure cradles her own head as blood springs from her neck; in the latter, a girl is surrounded by an assortment of meats and slicing a hunk of ham inscribed with the papal encyclical “Mystici corporis Christi.” The paintings go on view starting this weekend as part of Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose, a retrospective celebrating the artworks that have appeared in the pages of the San Francisco–based contemporary art magazine. Besides Ryden, artists showcased include Kehinde Wiley, Olek, and Shepard Fairey. Continues at