Crucified frogs and protesting pagans

Interesting tidbits from Europe:

An art museum in northern Italy won’t remove a sculpture of a crucified frog, despite protests from Pope Benedict XVI and others.

fa7f7afbcb984abb9af636e85fd6d571.jpgThe pope wrote in a letter to the museum that the sculpture “has offended the religious feelings of many people who consider the cross a symbol of God’s love and of our redemption.”

But the Museion in the city of Bolzano is standing by the work by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger.

From the AP:

The 1990 wooden sculpture shows the crucified frog nailed through the feet and hands like Jesus Christ. The frog, eyes popping and tongue sticking out, wears a loincloth and holds a mug of beer and an egg in its hands.

The museum said the 3-foot (1-meter) -tall sculpture has nothing to do with religion, but is an ironic self-portrait of the artist and an expression of his angst.

“With humor and a tragicomic sense, which belongs to art since the times of Greek tragedy, Kippenberger … faces his condition of suffering, which he expresses in many works, also, for example, in a video in which he crucifies himself,” the museum said in a statement.

Also, a group of pagans in Athens, Greece, said today they would hold a protest prayer Sunday among the ruined Acropolis temples.

A group called Ellinais is campaigning to revive ancient religion, according to the AP, and will defy government bans on holding prayers at the ancient temples.

images6.jpegA spokesperson said the group would pray to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens.

The group is angry that hundreds of sculptural masterpieces were removed last year from a small museum n the Acropolis.

Frog photo: Othmar Seehauser, AP

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.