Like a Prayer
Bowie, Kanye and Obama As Christ
A sculpture has been made of British rock star Pete Doherty, Christ-like, on a cross. Other celebrities, including Kanye West and David Beckham, have also channeled Jesus.
Some thought the rocker Pete Doherty was crucified by the media in his wilder, druggy days. And now the Libertines frontman is being captured for artistic posterity actually on the cross.
A church in London is exhibiting a marble sculpture of the British rock musician in the final Passion of Christ—crucifixion.
Created by artist Nick Reynolds and titled For Pete’s Sake, the life-size rendering is only one interpretation in a group exhibition at the 200-year-old St. Marylebone Parish Church, on display until March 17.
Other artists in the show, titled “Stations of the Cross,” include Paul Benney, Nasser Azam, Angelica Cayzer, Wolfe Lenkiewicz and Charlie Mackesy. It’s the second crucifixion-themed exhibition curated by Ben Moore to raise awareness and support for finding his brother, Tom, who went missing while in Italy in 2003.
Though it has never been on public view before, For Pete’s Sake was originally created in 2008 in collaboration between Doherty, special effects designer Schoony and artist Nick Reynolds, who saw the musician as “being crucified by the media,” according to a statement.
And Reynolds isn’t the first person to transform a famous figure into Christ. There have been many before him, sometimes even by the celebrities themselves.
David Beckham took matters into his own hands when interpreting the meaning of one of his many tattoos.
In 2011, the soccer stud revealed a new religious-based image of a limp Christ being removed from a tomb by three cherubs, equating himself to Jesus.
“Obviously, the cherubs are boys, so my thought of it is, you know, at some point my boys are going to need to look after me, and that’s what they’re doing in the picture,” Beckham said of the image inked by LA-based tattoo artist Mark Mahoney. “Everything has a meaning that I’ve got on me.”
It’s no surprise that Kanye West would appear as Christ. The 37-year-old rapper has compared himself to everyone from Steve Jobs to Shakespeare. His last album was titled Yeezus and he has performed with a Christ impersonator on stage.
A mural depicting West as Jesus appeared in Los Angeles early last year. The artist is unconfirmed, but we wouldn’t be surprised if West himself was behind the act. Though, with lyrics like “I am a god…hurry up with my damn croissants,” we are pretty sure he would have no problem letting the public know that he was.
David Bowie is another celebrity who has made the decision to assume the role as Savior.
In the music video for his 2013 single “The Next Day,” the long
time musician appeared as a Jesus-like figure performing for a crowd of corrupt priests who seduce women and indulge in sins before blaming the singer for a woman who becomes inflicted with stigmata wounds. Bowie then disappears into a flood of light from above.
The video, directed by Floria Sigismondi, created such controversy that YouTube initially removed it from its site because it violated its terms of service.
In 2012, New York City got a glimpse of President Obama as Jesus when artist Michael D’Antuono debuted his painting, titled “The Truth,” as part of the “Artists on the Stump—the Road to the White House 2012” exhibition.
“The painting of President Obama crucified was inspired by watching conflicting reports on the different cable newscasts and the effect on their viewers,” D’Antuono explained on his website. “This painting made the point that peoples’ perceptions are distorted through their political lenses by the drastically different interpretations of the piece.”
It was originally intended to be an installed in a mock voting booth at New York’s Union Square Park. People would privately view the piece and then be interviewed to express their own views.