I've mentioned before my friend and colleague Dan here at ACU. Dan teaches in the Art Department and we've collaborated on research regarding Christian aesthetics.
Dan is always pointing me to interesting stuff in relation to Christian art. Last week he sent me a picture of a controversial cover of a New Testament translation. The cover was designed by Chip Kidd for Richmond Lattimore's translation of the New Testament. Kidd's cover uses a picture taken by the infamous Andres Serrano (of Piss Christ fame). The photo is from an actual body in a morgue. Kipp, obviously, uses this dead body to make connections with the death of Jesus. Here was the original cover:
The cover caused such a controversy it was eventually pulled and replaced with something less graphic:
Here is a bit on the Kidd/Serrano cover from the New York Times:
Graphic design projects can range from the sacred to the profane. One of the most notorious: a cover design by the renowned book designer Chip Kidd for the Richmond Lattimore translation of the New Testament, published last year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It featured a Serrano photograph of a dead man's face -- all glazed eyes and blood-stained skin. ''It's horrifying, but also kind of serenely beautiful,'' said Mr. Kidd, who was told to think of the translation as a literary novel. ''The cover was startling and fresh and true,'' noted Laurie Brown, vice president of marketing at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ''But we had quite a strong negative reaction from buyers at Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble.'' She pointed out that the forthcoming paperback will offer a more traditional image of Christ on the cross.Here's how The New York Magazine described the cover when the translation came out:
A long-awaited new translation of the New Testament by respected scholar Richmond Lattimore has but Andres Serrano once again in the line of fire. The book's striking cover--created by jacket design guru Chip Kidd--seems like a standard-issue, mildly shocking modern Christ rendering: a photograph depicting the bloodied face of Jesus. The provocation is the fact that the image was created by Serrano, the infamous menace to the Christian right whose National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored Piss Christ--which feature a cross drenched in urine--sparked an unholy stink throughout the nature seven years ago...But while the ide of Serrano's illustrating a Bible will draw fundamentalist fire from all the predictable quarters, Kidd says he like the image and didn't care who created it. "This [Bible] is for literate, intelligent people," he says. "It's not for little old ladies to read on their way to work." "We knew it would raise hackles, "admits a spokesman for the book's publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. "But hey, the picture works."Any opinions? Too graphic? Blasphemous? Horrifying and serenely beautiful? Theological problems?