A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday amid complaints from Catholics, including Cardinal Edward Egan.
The "My Sweet Lord" display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in Manhattan, said Matt Semler, the gallery's creative director. Semler said he resigned after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show.
The artwork was created from more than 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) of milk chocolate and features Christ with his arms outstretched as if on an invisible cross. Unlike the typical religious portrayal of Christ, the artwork does not include a loincloth.
The 6-foot (1.8-meter) sculpture was the victim of "a strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing," Semler said. "They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions."
But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as "a sickening display." Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever."
The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails. Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display.