On January 1st of this year, Ireland enacted the Blasphemy Law, which makes blasphemy punishable by a fine up to $35,000. A criminal blasphemer is defined as someone who “publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and … intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.” (from the Irish Statute Book as quoted in The New York Times.
The Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA) is confronting this law with their new exhibition, Blasphemous.
Certainly, the exhibit recalls the work of Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 1980s. Art can inspire, challenge, express, incite, teach, confront, be required classwork, titillate, or even bore. Perhaps above all, though, it initiates a conversation either internally or with others.
The current exhibit, itself building off another one earlier in the year in Dublin, seems to be prompting a larger conversation within Ireland. Could the law be repealed? The Irish Justice Minister may now propose a referendum to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution.
What are your thoughts re: the art in question? Share your thoughts here.
We love artful conversation.
Events and Outreach Manager