Chris Ofili
Holy Virgin Mary, 1996
paper collage, oil paint, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, elephant dung on linen
"Much of the art that is widely cherished now was received with revulsion and horror in its own time. The Brooklyn Museum itself has documented the historical process through which art that shocks or offends when it is new becomes accepted and valued . . . [These] include paintings by Matisse, Braque and Picasso that children were prohibited from seeing when they came to New York to be displayed in the Armory Show of 1913. The New York Times concluded in 1913 that
'[t]he Armory Show is pathological.'"

From the transcripts of the court trial of The City of New York and Mayor Rudolph Giulianni against the Brooklyn Museum of Art for mounting the 1999-2000 "Sensation" show.

Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary (left) was deemed sacriligious by Giulianni after a number of religious groups protested the work. A court trial ensued, which incited anti-censorship groups and art advocates to speak out against the mayor's actions. The Museum won the case, but Ofili's work again came under attack when a man smuggled paint inside the Brooklyn exhibition and attempted to smear it on the Virgin.