Brooklyn Art Exhibit Portrays Kim Kardashian as Jesus
Brooklyn artist holds exhibit portraying Kim Kardashian as Jesus, the Virgin Mary and a Satanic priestess
New York Daily News | June 18, 2014
Known as 'The Passion of Kim Kardashian,' the exhibit opened in Bushwick last week. Artist Hannah Kunkle, who created the artwork, said she's 'strangely fascinated' with Kardashian. But local clergy are not impressed.
A Brooklyn art gallery held an exhibit portraying Kim Kardashian as Jesus - and the Virgin Mary.
The show, "The Passion of Kim Kardashian," opened in Bushwick last week, flummoxing local clergy.
They called the portraits of Kanye West's better half decked out in religious iconography distasteful.
Father Michael Perry of Our Lady of Refuge Church in Flatbush called the show "dumb and stupid."
"Everyone knows who Kim Kardashian is and I don't care who she is. She has no impact on my life at all," Perry said.
But the pastor also had some kind words for artist Hannah Kunkle's artwork.
"They are gorgeous photos. They are well thought out," he said.
Pastor Reggie Stutzman of Real Life Church in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx was less forgiving, and was particularly offended after seeing one of the portraits of the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star wearing a crown of thorns with a cross behind her.
"Leave Kim and Jesus separate," the pastor said. "To cross so many lines and actually imagine her with a cross, which is the most important thing Jesus did, is inappropriate. There are other ways to depict that imagery without combining those images."
"It's deplorable," said Stutzman, who is trying to raise funds to convert a Bronx strip club into a church. "It's sacrilegious, irrelevant, and disrespectful. . . It's idol worship."
The one-night show of photoshopped Kardashian images was held at Palisades 906, and also included images of Kardashian as a Satanic priestess, a trio of nuns, Joan of Arc and a Hindu goddess. In one of the Hindu portraits, she's wearing a necklace decorated with the head of her husband, who's also known as "Yeezus."
"I am certainly not happy about this," said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing. "Any religious symbol should not be used or abused."
"They are images for worship not for display or to be used to just bring ones fame up. It's distasteful," she said.
The show also featured organ music and incense, and included a display of prayer candles adorned with the images.
Kunkle, 23, said she thought the religious leaders' outrage was "pretty hilarious."
"I'm sorry if that offends them, but that's really not my purpose," she said.
"It's art. It's supposed to be wild and, not offensive, but prying."
She said she's not religious herself, but, "Religious idols are so beautiful to me, so I wanted to make my own that apply to me. Those images are so powerful - it gives power to the idea of worshiping her."
"I've never got haters before," the Pratt Institute grad said. "I love it."
She said she's "strangely fascinated" with Kardashian.
"I think she is almost a patron saint of pop culture," she said. "She's everywhere."
She told VICE earlier this year that, "Kim Kardashian is God. She's crazy bodacious and has the nose job of an angel. I don't know if she's omniscient, but no one can deny she's not omnipresent."
John Gribowich, 35, a seminarian for the Diocese of Brooklyn who earned his masters in art history from Pratt, said the artwork "confuses" him.
"I don't know what the intention is by the artist," he said. "Here [Kardashian] is as portraying Christ, here she is portraying the Blessed Mother, and then there's a demonic image of her. I don't know how you can be all of those things. It doesn't make sense."
"It's taking things from lots of different traditions and things that are contradictory and you're doing it all in one exhibition," he said.
"I think there is a cohesiveness to the art," he said. "But I don't walk away thinking Kim Kardashian is a goddess."