Controversy has broken out over the Church authorities' decision to ban two works of art from an exhibition at the Episcopal Palace in Malaga. The diocese has put its foot down over the inclusion of The Richard Channing Foundation's La Custodia del Cubata, which uses glasses to create the receptacle which contains the host in Catholic liturgy, and Swimming Pools, by Dionisio González, which portrays three naked women in backlit boxes.
Miguel Ángel Gamero, the head of the heritage department at the diocese, said this week that the Episcopal Palace is “not a suitable place” to display these pieces, and pointed out that the diocese has the right to a say in what is exhibited there because this is included in the agreement it signed with Malaga council.
The exhibition '25 Centuries. Sculpture in the Cajasol Foundation's Art Collection' opened on Monday. The diocese's demand that the two works of art be removed was met with a swift response from the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC), the Union of Visual Artists of Andalucía (UAVA) and the head of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Malaga university, Salvador Haro.
The IAC issued a statement saying that such interference in the content of the exhibition is inadmissible, and claiming that it contravenes the right to free expression.
UAVA president Tete Álvarez said that such “censorship” is out of place in the 21st century, and that “as artists we are very worried about this wave of puritanism”.
One of the curators of the exhibition, Juan Ramón Rodríguez-Mateo, said he was not prepared to comment on the controversy. “Our work consists of being at the service of the project and we don't want to create any problems,” he explained.